Beijing: A powerful 6.5-magnitude quake rocked a mountainous area of far western China Friday night, with one person killed when a house collapsed in a region often plagued with seismic activity.

The tremor struck southern Xinjiang, a vast region bordering central Asia, at a relatively shallow depth of 12 kilometres (seven miles), the US Geological Survey said.

The quake hit near the Tajik border and some 170 kilometres west of the Chinese city of Kashgar.

One villager died due to a house collapse while six buildings suffered damage in the sparsely-populated area, the state news agency Xinhua said, citing local authorities.

The USGS said only a relatively small area would have perceived the shaking to be strong.