Another 54 workers were injured in the blaze.
The fire broke out at 6 a.m. with more than 300 workers inside the plant in Jilin province.
Firefighters battled the blaze for six hours before bringing it under control.
A fire official said an explosion at the plant started the fire, but the cause of the blast was not immediately known.
“The complicated interior structure of the prefabricated house in which the fire broke out and the narrow exits have added difficulties to the rescue work, sources with rescue forces said,” the Xinhua report said.