Chinese state media say a leading official in the southern manufacturing powerhouse of Guangdong province has been found dead in an apparent suicide.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Liu Xiaohua apparently hanged himself at his home in the provincial capital of Guangzhou on Sunday. No other details were given and police refused to comment.

Liu was a deputy secretary general of the provincial Communist Party committee, making him one of the province's most powerful officials.

A number of suicides among provincial Chinese leaders have been reported in recent years, often linked to the nation's ongoing anti-corruption campaign that has placed officials under intense scrutiny.

It wasn't clear whether Liu was under investigation, although his death came as the province's anti-corruption watchdog body has been expanding its inspection work.