India's manufacturing activity expanded for the second straight month in February, as output and new orders rose at accelerated rates, survey data from IHS Markit showed Wednesday.
The Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) by the Australian Industry Group increased by 8.1 points in February to 59.3.
The health of Malaysia's manufacturing sector deteriorated at a weaker pace in February.
Readings above 50.0 signal an expansion in activity.
Zhou said it was "very likely" that China's central bank would raise short-term interest rates by a another 10 basis points in March - which would mark the third such move in as many months - as authorities grow more confident that the economy is on steadier footing.
"The surge in February builds on a recovery from the sluggish performance in the third quarter of past year and marks a fifth month of expansion", Mr Willox said.
Exports are now also showing signs of picking up, after China lagged other major Asian countries which had seen a rebound in foreign shipments in recent months.
China's January exports beat expectations, bolstering views that global demand is improving, but the trade outlook is being clouded by worries about the impact that rising USA trade protectionism could have on the world's largest exporter.
Analysts had expected a reading of 51.1 in February.
The index remained above the 50 threshold for the sixth consecutive month and marked the fastest expansion since March 2014.
"However, with growth rates well below-par, the sector still has many areas to develop before it can fire on all cylinders", said Pollyanna De Lima, an economist at survey compiler IHS Markit.
The services sector accounted for over half of China's economy a year ago and for the majority of growth, as rising wages give Chinese consumers the opportunity travel and eat out more.
A steep rise in commodity prices pushed companies to raise prices charged to consumers at the fastest pace since October 2013.