Profits earned by Chinese industrial firms in December fell 4.7 percent from a year earlier, the seventh straight month of declines, as the slowing economy hits sales and forces many companies to cut prices to win business.
The weak performance is bound to spark fresh concerns about investment cuts, job losses and bad loans in the world's second-largest economy, and could put more pressure on China's stock markets, which have been pummelled to 14-month lows.
Industrial profits - which cover large enterprises with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan ($3.1 million) from their main operations - fell 2.3 percent in 2015 from 2014, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on its website on Wednesday.
That compared with 3.3 percent growth in 2014.
December's profit decline quickened from November's 1.4 percent drop, marking the longest period of monthly slides since the NBS started collecting the data in 2011.