The deadly crash was the second involving the same plane model in just five months, after 189 people died in a Lion Air flight incident in Indonesia in October.
While it is too early to know the exact cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, the Civil Aviation Administration of China has decided to make the first regulatory response, as both 'occurred during take-off and have certain similarities'.
It said in a statement: "Given that two accidents both involved newly delivered Boeing 737 Max 8 planes and happened during take-off phase, they have some degree of similarity."
Aeroplane parts on the ground at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash. Credit: PA
The Chinese regulator also said the suspension was 'in accordance with management principles of zero tolerance for security risks and to ensure flight safety for civil aviation in China'.
It ordered local carriers to suspend all 737 Max 8 flights by 6pm local time (10am GMT).
Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airways have also grounded their 737 Max 8 models.
However, SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, has said it will continue to use its six Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes, saying in a statement: "We are currently monitoring the situation closely and at this point our Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft are continuing to operate as scheduled."
The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, which is known as Africa's largest carrier, said: "Although we don't yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution."
The 737 Max model has been the fastest-selling aircraft in Boeing's history, with more than 4,500 ordered by 100 different operators across the globe.
According the Boeing's website, 16 airlines have taken delivery of the 737 Max 8, including SilkAir, SpiceJet, TUI Group, Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Italy and flydubai.
A spokesperson for Boeing in China said in a statement: "We have engaged our customers and regulators on concerns they may have - and would refer you to them to discuss their operations and decisions."
The statement added: "The investigation is in its early stages, but at this point, based on the information available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators."
Featured Image Credit: PA