Beijing's zero-Covid policies are stifling production and causing supply chain disruptions.
Chinese authorities' widespread lockdowns to combat the latest surge in Covid-19 cases have dragged down China's April manufacturing and services activity.
According to data released on Saturday by the National Bureau of Statistics, the official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 47.4 this month from 49.5 in March. Anything above 50 indicates expansion, while anything below this level indicates contraction.
The March figure was slightly higher than the median forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg, who predicted a drop to 47.3. Meanwhile, a Reuters poll predicted that the PMI would fall to 48.
The latest reading still indicates that China's factory activities were in the worst slump since February 2020, when the pandemic's early impact resulted in a PMI of 35.7.
China's major cities, including the commercial capital of Shanghai, are still under full or partial lockdown, with experts slashing growth forecasts for the world's second-largest economy.