According to China's General Administration of Customs, imports grew by 17.7% in United States dollar terms, above the 17.2% increase of October and forecasts for a smaller gain of 11.3%.
That is up 42.3 percent from 330,000 tonnes in October and up 23.7 percent from 380,000 tonnes in November 2016.
Yuan-denominated imports rose 15.6 percent year-on-year in November, which produced a trade surplus of 263.6 billion yuan.
The numbers may help to ease concerns of slowing momentum in Asia's economic powerhouse, which had surprised markets with robust growth of almost 6.9 percent in the nine months of this year, thanks to a government-led infrastructure spending spree and unexpected strength in exports.
Iron ore imports also lifted, jumping to 94.54 million tonnes from 79.49 million tonnes in October. "Coal traders are seeking cheaper fuel from overseas markets as miners in China have been ordered to cut capacity to tackle environmental and safety inspections", said Zhang Min, analyst at Sublime Info. "I think we'll probably see a mid-range number in December based on still quite optimistic sentiment and good demand outlook and no supply disruptions".
Exports stood at 380,000 tonnes, up 8.6 percent from 350,000 tonnes in October and flat on a year earlier. Coal imports grew marginally, rising from 22.05 million tonnes from 21.28 million tonnes.