Mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index sank 1.7 percent to 2,066.21 and the Shenzhen Composite Index shed 2 percent to 840.51.
Shanghai-listed Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech Co., China's top rare earths producer, lost 7 percent two days after announcing it had suspended production in an effort to shore up plunging prices of rare earths.
Investors preferred to book profits on recent gains while waiting for additional data to confirm recent signs that China's manufacturing slowdown may be close to bottoming out.
"The Hong Kong market is at a relatively high level. We need more data to confirm what is our next move, so now it's time for profit-taking," said Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong.
Among individual stocks, Kia Motors Corp. plummeted 5.6 percent after the company reported a third-quarter net profit that was below expectations. The company, South Korea's second-largest carmaker, was hobbled by a labor strike over the summer and weak domestic sales.
Samsung Electronics fell 2.7 percent, even though the company posted a record third quarter profit as concerns over long-term growth weighed stocks down.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chip maker, jumped 3 percent a day after saying its third-quarter profit rose 62 percent from a year earlier.
Benchmark oil for December delivery was down 90 cents to $85.12 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 32 cents to finish at $86.05 in New York on Thursday, its first rise in four days.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.2930 from $1.2949. The dollar fell to 79.94 yen from 80.29 yen.
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AP researcher Fu Ting contributed from Shanghai.