Four of the victims were reported in critical condition.
The building in Xi'nan in the eastern province of Jiangsu was destroyed and some of its residents were buried in the rubble, rescuers said.
The blast was blamed on a leak in a bottle of liquefied natural gas, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Rare Chinese turtles hatch at New York City zoo [VIDEO]
Jennifer Lawrence: 'It should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV'