The 10-year-old was walking along Kenmure Street, in Pollokshields, when he was pulled into the back court of nearby flats.
Police said the brave schoolboy managed to break free, run back onto the street, and raise the alarm.
He then made his way home and told his family, who contacted police.
The terrifying incident happened at around 3.10pm on Wednesday. The boy was uninjured but has been left very upset by his ordeal.
Police patrols in the area have been stepped up in a bid to reassure worried locals.
One mother, who has two young children, said: "My two usually go out and play in the street with the other kids, but that won't be happening now."
The incident happened near Kenmure Street and Albert Drive, just yards from Pollokshields Primary School.
A local shopkeeper, who did not wish to be named, said: "I couldn't quite believe it when a customer told me what had happened.
"Children often come in here without their parents, especially when they are out playing with their friends."
Police said the suspect is of South-East Asian appearance, between 30 and 35-years-old and unshaven. He is believed to be between 5ft 4in and 5ft 6in tall.
He was wearing dark jogging bottoms, a hooded top and a baseball cap.
Chief Inspector Hazel Knight said: "We are trying to establish whether the boy was known to the man and approached intentionally or if this was a random incident.
"Specially-trained officers are speaking to him and his family to get as much detail as possible."
After the boy broke free, he alerted a passer-by on Kenmure Street, who police are keen to trace.
The incident happened not far from where murdered teenager Kriss Donald was abducted in March 2004.
Fifteen-year-old Kriss was abducted by a group of Asian men, before being stabbed several times and set on fire. Three men were convicted of the racially-motivated killing.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.