Speculation over a property market loosening outweighed worries that falling trade may slow the economy further on Friday, lifting Chinese stocks out of negative territory to a weekly gain for a fifth straight week.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 2.39 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 2,351.98, capping this week's gains to 2.23 percent.
The Shenzhen Component Index advanced 30.23 points, or 0.32 percent, to finish at 9,590.95, registering a weekly rally of 1.63 percent.
Fewer shares changed hands with thinner combined turnover of 153.46 billion yuan (24.38 billion U.S. dollars) on the two bourses, compared with 169.3 billion yuan on the previous trading day.
Gainers greatly outnumbered losing shares, by 569 to 299 in Shanghai, and by 847 to 481 in Shenzhen, with 219 shares remaining unchanged on the two markets.
Friday's rally came amid a string of newly released foreign trade and current- and capital-account surplus data by government departments.
China's exports posted the first monthly decline in more than two years in January by dropping 0.5 percent year-on-year to 149.94 billion U.S. dollars in January while imports plunged 15.3 percent to 122.66 billion U.S. dollars, revealed customs data released on Friday.
Also, the Chinese current account surplus narrowed sharply, by more than one-third, from a year earlier to 201.1 billion U.S. dollars last year, underlining a growth challenge for the world's second-largest economy, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said Friday.
Bank shares were weaker as the country's banking regulator said late Thursday that it would crack down on irregular practices in the sector as the public have expressed dismay at lenders relying on arbitrary credit terms and service fees to accumulate huge profits amid slower growth in other sectors.
ICBC, China's biggest bank, weakened 0.68 percent to 4.39 yuan. CCB, the country's second-largest lender, slid 0.81 percent to 4.89 yuan. The Bank of Communications lost the most among lenders, down 1.6 percent to 4.95 yuan.
Housing-related companies turned higher after the eastern city of Wuhu in Anhui province announced tax exemption for first-home buyers on Thursday and triggered speculation that the government will soon loosen the tightening of the property market nationwide.
China Vanke, the country's largest developer by market value, rose 2percent to 7.85 yuan. Poly Real Estate, the second-biggest developer, jumped 3.31 percent to 10.91 yuan. Gemdale, another housing development giant, rallied 2.77 percent to 5.56 yuan.