At least six people were killed and dozens injured when the blast destroyed a number of buildings at the chemical facility.
The blast occurred at an industrial park, the city government of Yancheng in Jiangsu province said.
Rescue efforts were going on, authorities in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, said in a statement.
Damaging further buildings in the radius, the explosion is believed to have caused a 2.2-magnitude natural disaster that was recorded by China's quake administration at the same time as the factory erupted.
Firefighters putting out a fire after an explosion at a chemical plant in Yibin in Sichuan province in July 2018.
Windows and garage doors appear to shatter at the moment of the blast.
Emergency services rushed to the scene to tackle the blaze and treat the injured following the explosion that took place at 2pm, local time, on Thursday.
A video posted on state broadcaster CCTV's website shows huge plumes of smoke spewing from a factory building and spreading over the area.
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The explosion occurred following a fire in a fertiliser factory, according to official news agency Xinhua, citing local authorities.
Industrial accidents have become prevalent in the East Asian country, as poor safety regulations have led to past factory explosions.
Workers covered in blood were seen running out of the factory, Xinhua added, citing witnesses.
Images on social media showed a fireball exploding at the site, billowing clouds enveloping the area, injured people and damage to buildings.
In 2015, giant chemical blasts at a container storage facility killed at least 165 people in the northern port city of Tianjin.
A report published by local authorities in February revealed that the Chinese chemical firm responsible for the accident had concealed information and misled investigators.
Authorities pointed to the company's lack of safety measures and "chaotic" management for contributing to the blast.
UPDATE: 6:30 a.m. EDT - According to Chinese worldwide English-language news channel CGTN, 31 people were rescued so far from the Chenjiagang Tianjiayi Chemical Plant in Jiangsu Province, China, where an explosion occurred Thursday at a plant making pesticides.
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Human reviewers will always be an important part of evaluating social media content, and human reviews take time. It said that the first report from anyone using the site came 12 minutes after the broadcast ended.
The company had undertaken illegal construction that had not passed safety checks, according to local authorities. While there is a small river next to the site, it is not used as a drinking source, the agency added.
The findings are backed up by several studies, which have shown that many glaciers in the Himalayas are melting and thinning. Bodies are being removed on the Chinese side of the mountain, to the north, as the spring climbing season starts.
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