Despite the weaker data, banking stocks remained in positive territory; Agricultural Bank of China rallied 3 percent while Shanghai Pudong bank climbed 3.3 percent.
Electric stocks also posted gains, as investors consider the sector safe amid a slowing economy. Shanghai Electric Power piled on 4.9 percent.
Traders also watched the close of China's annual National People's Congress, where the Chinese government said during a press conference that it is paying "high" attention to risks in the country's financial sector and was "flexible" on meeting the 7.5 percent growth target on Thursday.
(Read more: Marc Faber: China is growing at 4% and that's okay)
Tokyo slips 0.1%
After opening 0.4 higher on Thursday, Japan's benchmark Nikkei eventually finished slightly lower, extending losses following a tumble of 2.6 percent in the previous session.
Thursday's China data weighed on the bourse, erasing the positive sentiment created earlier in the session by Japan's latest core machinery orders, which rose 13.4 percent in January from a month earlier. The domestic figure came in well above analysts expectations in a Reuters poll for a rise of 7 percent.
Gainers for the day included index heavyweights Softbank which rallied 1.7 percent.
Exporter stocks Fast Retailing and Toyota Motor ditched gains on late Thursday to inch down 0.2 percent, respectively. The latter was in focus after it said it will give its Japan-based workers their biggest pay raise in 21 years on Wednesday.
Weakness in metal shares capped gains amid continued jitters over China's economic outlook. Sumitomo Metal Mining widened losses to 1.4 percent while and Dowa Holdings slumped 1.5 percent.
(Read more: Toyota gives Japan workers biggest pay raise in 21 years)
Sydney rises 0.5%
Australian shares finished higher on Thursday as the key S&P ASX 200 index got a fillip from robust domestic jobs data and a recovery in mining stocks.
Australia's February jobs numbers surged by 47,300, beating Reuters expectations of a rise of 18,000. This was also the biggest gain in 13 months.
However, some analysts sounded doubts on the data.