Trading on China's mainland benchmark index - the Shanghai Composite - was suspended after the market dramatically plunged 7%.
Trading was initially halted for 15 minutes after the stock market fell by 5%, triggering an automatic 15-minute trading suspension under a new system created to curb volatility.
But shares continued to fall, leading regulators to end trading early.
A manufacturing survey earlier pointed to more bad news for the economy.
The Caixin/Markit purchasing managers' index (PMI) slipped to 48.2 in December, marking tenth consecutive month of shrinking factory activity in the sector.
A reading below 50 suggests a contraction in the sector, while anything above 50 suggests growth.
The private PMI survey, which focuses more on small and medium-sized businesses, came after an official survey on Friday, which looked at larger companies, suggested a fifth month of shrinking factory activity.
The Shanghai Composite fell 6.9% to 3,296.66 points before trading was halted for the day.
Under the new circuit breaker mechanism, moves of 7% from the previous session's close would trigger a trading suspension for the day.
The measures came into effect for the first time on Monday and were created after the stock market's turbulent sell-off over the summer.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down by 2.8% to 21,293.13.-Asfar