China imported $7.3 billion more than it exported last month, the General Administration of Customs said on March 10 in Beijing.
China last reported a monthly deficit in March 2010, when the figure was $7.2 billion.
China's exports in February rose 2.4% from a year earlier, down from January's 37.7% rise and below the Dow Jones Newswires survey's forecast of a 25.9% expansion.
Imports rose 19.4%, down from January's 51.0% increase and below the survey's forecast of a 32.8% rise.
China's net exports are generally weaker early in the year, as exporters stock up on raw materials and components for peak retail seasons later in the year.