The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index was expected to dip slightly to 50.9 in August from 51.1 in July, according to a Reuters poll.
That's up from 51.1, and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
The PMI report said activity rose to its second-highest level in more than three years, as production picked up pace despite overseas demand for British goods easing from a near-record high in July.
Manufacturing in India bounced back in August from previous month's GST-related contraction amid resumed growth in new orders, production and employment, a survey said on Friday.
Order books grew at the fastest pace in three months, partly driven by the strongest order inflow from overseas since April 2016.
Companies reported the strongest intake of new orders since May, bolstered by the weaker pound. The expansion was driven primarily by domestic factors, although there was still a robust reading for export growth with expansion boosted by a competitive currency and firm global trade growth. The consensus estimate is for 183,000 jobs added in August, below July's 209,000 level, and the unemployment rate to be unchanged at 4.3%. However, nearly 31% of companies said they experienced an increase in the price of materials required for their operations, generally linked to the rising cost of commodities. "Having endured years of economic malaise, the latest data will be music to the ears of many concerned with Greek manufacturing", said IHS Markit economist Alex Gill.
United Kingdom manufacturing activity surprised to the upside in August as business confidence picked up.
The stronger performance of the manufacturing sector filtered through to the labor market in August. Business conditions improved across the three main subsectors - consumer, intermediate and investment goods - and at smaller and large-scale producers alike.