BEIJING, Sept 26 - Chinese industrial firms earned a combined 1.8685 trillion yuan ($273.9 billion) in profits in January through August, up 19.4 percent from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.
The figure marked a dip from annual growth of 20.9 percent in the first five months of the year.
Profits grew 36.7 percent from a year earlier in the first 11 months of 2007. The agency did not give a full-year figure for last year.
Some analysts are sceptical of the data, saying the results are driven by big monopolies that benefit from state protection.
But others say the figures give a rough guide to profitability trends. Profits grew 31 percent in 2006, around 23 percent in 2005 and 40 percent in 2004. ($1=6.819 Yuan)