Of those hurt, about 40 are in a serious condition, state news agency Xinhua reported
The quake struck Jiuzhaigou County in China's southwestern Sichuan Province late on Tuesday night.
At least five of the people who died were tourists, Xinhua reported, citing the information office of the provincial government. About 2,800 people were evacuated from the severely damaged Intercontinental hotel.
There was some disagreement over the size and power of the earthquake.
The US Geological Survey reported a magnitude-6.5 quake 35 kilometers (22 miles) west-southwest of Yongle, Xinhua reported it was 7.0-magnitude, citing the China Earthquake Networks Center.
Residents in Chengdu, the provincial capital -- 300 kilometers (186 miles) away from the epicenter -- told state media they had felt the quake.
The China Earthquake Administration has launched a Level I emergency response, the highest of its four levels, according to state media.
Almost 400 fire trucks and more than 1,100 firefighters were dispatched to the scene, CCTV said. They are bringing with them 55 life detectors, 30 rescue dogs and 24 generators.
Local authorities announced the closure of the Jiuzhaigou tourist area, which includes a national park known for its waterfalls and topographical formations, beginning Wednesday.
Yu Qian, a local taxation bureau official, told Xinhua that the earthquake cut off power and disrupted phone service in her neighborhood.