Global concern has mounted over a weakening trend in the Chinese economy, an important driver of global growth, as the broader global slowdown and the European debt crisis have recently impacted China's exports.
But exports, the key indicator of the health of China's economically vital manufacturing sector, climbed 9.9% in September, the General Administration of Customs said.
Imports rose 2.4%.
Both figures beat the expectations of analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires, which resulted in a median forecast of 5.0% growth for exports and 2.0% for imports.
China's gross domestic product grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, the slowest rate since 2009.
Chinese authorities have been aiming for 7.5 economic percent growth for 2012 -- far less than the 9.3% achieved in 2011 and 10.4% in 2010.
The world's largest exporter has been pulled down by weakness in overseas economies including debt-saddled Europe, a major trading partner, as well as a sluggish property market and softening consumer spending.
China has sought to encourage lending this year by taking the rare step to cut interest rates twice in rapid succession as well as reducing the minimum amount banks must hold in reserve.