In Japan, the Nikkei 225 wavered between gains and losses throughout the session before closing up 92.80 points, or 0.55 percent, at 17,048.37. At yesterday's close, the index was down some 18.74 percent from its 52-week high of 20,868.03, set in June 2015.
Japanese economics minister Akira Amari said the recent sell-off in Japanese equities was due to external factors such as worries over emerging markets and declines in oil prices, and that Japan's economic fundamentals remained solid, according to Reuters.
The dollar-yen pair traded 0.15 percent higher at 117.73 from the previous session's close of 117.31. This likely helped boost some major export stocks such Nissan, Sharp, Toyota and Sony, which all closed between 0.92 and 2.44 percent higher. A weaker yen is usually considered positive for Japan's exporters as it flatters earnings when translated back into the home currency.
South Korea's Kospi erased losses to close 11.19 points, or 0.60 percent, higher at 1,889.64. Korean blue chips finished mixed, with shares of Samsung Electronics up 4 percent, Posco up 0.30 percent and Hyundai Motor up by 0.72 percent.
Australia's ASX 200 extended gains in late-afternoon trade to close in positive territory, up 44.39 points, or 0.91 percent, at 4,903.10.
Earlier, the index was weighed by the energy sector, which eventually closed 0.95 percent lower. At yesterday's close, the ASX 200 had lost 18.78 percent since its 52-week high of 5,982.69, set in April 2015, pushing it near bear market territory.
Resources stocks were resilient, with Rio Tinto finishing up 0.34 percent, after being down as much as 0.59 percent in early trade, and BHP Billiton closing up 0.68 percent. Other iron ore producers such as Fortescue pared gains to close down 1.61 percent.
Rio Tinto said it planned to increase iron ore production and shipments in 2016, despite multi-year-low iron-ore prices. The mining giant increased 2015 annual iron ore shipments by 11 percent, roughly in line with its guidance of 340 million tonnes. Iron ore traded at $41.90 a ton.
Other Asian markets had a mixed reaction to the Chinese data. Singapore's Straits Times index was up 0.28 percent before retracing gains and then surging up 1.53 percent in late afternoon; Indonesia's Jakarta composite eked out a gain of 0.15 percent before slipping 0.23 percent and then trading flat; Taiwan's Taiex was initially flat but closed up 0.56 percent.
U.S. futures reacted positively to the Chinese data, with the S&P 500 up 0.67 percent, Nasdaq futures up 0.42 percent, and the Dow futures up 0.56 percent. Since then, all three futures eked out further gains, up between 1.39 and 1.51 percent.