The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake, which hit the Xinjiang region, at magnitude 6.3, while China's Earthquake Networks Center put it at 6.6.
China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported no deaths but said 34 people were injured.
The quake also triggered landslides, one of which hit a national highway, trapping 120 people, Xinhua said.
Residents near the epicenter were shaken out of bed in pre-dawn darkness and some households lost electricity, Xinhua reported. The quake toppled several buildings 300 kilometers (186 miles) to the west in the regional capital, Urumqi, Xinhua said, adding that rescuers had been dispatched to the sparsely populated area to search for casualties.
An official from the Xinjiang Earthquake Bureau said the quake was "strongly felt" in Urumqi. The man, who gave only his surname, Jian, said Urumqi residents rushed into the streets when the quake hit but returned home after 6 a.m.