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China Tops Asia-Pacific in Advertising Spending
According to the latest ACNielsen report, advertising expenditures in China -- the largest market for consumers in Asia -- climbed to a record US$11.2 billion in 2001, up by 16 percent over the previous year despite the global economic downturn. This keeps China at the top in advertising spending in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report showed the income for China’s three main media hit a new high: US$ 8.1 billion for TV at 17 percent growth; US$2.9 billion for newspapers at 13 percent growth and US$200 million for magazines at 21 percent growth.

Plagued by the global economic recession, other advertising markets in the Asia-Pacific region were soft compared to China. The expenditure even declined in Australia and Taiwan with a negative growth rate of 11 percent and 8 percent respectively. Thailand and New Zealand saw increases, but no more than 4 percent. Malaysia and Hong Kong had better performances of 5 percent and 8 percent growth.

Health tonics and vitamins remained leading products, accounting for US$1.2 billion, but this category also was the only category in the top ten to show a negative growth rate -- 7 percent -- compared to the year 2000. Shampoos and cough/cold medicines increased most at rates of 75 percent and 67 percent. Prepared Chinese medicines and housing increased more than 25 percent. Mobile phone (No. 10) remained stable.

Local enterprises played a significant role in the growth of advertising expenditure in 2001. The top ten advertisers are all Chinese enterprises. Amid the top ten, eight were medicines. Taitai spent the most at US$100 million. But the other three major medical firms (Naobaijin, Sanjing and Huiren) cut their advertising cost by 20 to 40 percent. Haiwang captured top in growth by a skyrocketing rate of 2147 percent (spending US$70 million). The other two which are non-medicine products are Eagle cleaning products and Wahaha beverages.

The blockbuster inland advertising sales also benefited Hong Kong. Inland products entered the Hong Kong’s top ten list of advertisers for the first time. Taitai listed as the seventh at US$19.9 million, reflecting the strong demand of local people for inland health tonics and medicines.

China’s entry into WTO is exciting news for the domestic advertising industry. The coming investment of foreign companies will promote the advertising industry. But from another perspective, the new policy released by Chinese government for restricting prescription medicine ads will influence the advertising market sales. The satellite TV network will also affect the advertising income of the National TV channels. However, the Chinese advertising market, especially in medicine, has a promising outlook.

(Northeast.com, translated by Li Liangdu for china.org.cn)

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