Rescuers have already saved seven people, with only one of them suffering from minor injuries, after the accident in the southern city of Shenzhen bordering Hong Kong, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
It was unclear whether there had been any fatalities and Xinhua did not elaborate on the 41 people it said were missing.
About 900 people were moved out of harm’s way before the landslide struck late in the morning, according to the Shenzhen Evening News newspaper.
The landslide buried 22 buildings including two worker dormitories, state broadcaster CCTV said. But it quoted Ren Jiguang, deputy chief of Shenzhen’s public security bureau, as saying most people had been evacuated beforehand.
The cause of the slide was unclear. A video posted by Xinhua showed a massive dust cloud and piles of rubble where buildings once stood. Rescue helicopters were in operation near the scene.
A landslide last month that engulfed 27 homes in rural Zhejiang province killed 38 people.