China has reported a 14.3% drop in its imports during August as exports fell 6%.
It means that China's trade surplus expanded to 40% compared with July at 368bn yuan ($57.8bn; £37.7bn).
Both imports and exports were expected to fall, given the economy's recent slowdown. The Chinese government recently downgraded its 2015 growth forecast from 7.4% to 7.3%, which would be its weakest growth for 25 years.
However, the 14.3% fall in imports was larger than many analysts had expected.
Weaker economic growth then impacted on Chinese shares, which in turn hurt financial markets around the world.