China’s advertising landscape

China's advertising landscape - internet users in China

For the 6th year in a row, China is ranked as the most attractive market in the world. Not surprising given the total number of internet users in China now stands at a whopping 840 million people!

If your brand or organization has spotted a growth opportunity in China, it would help you to have a broad understanding of the landscape. Without that, how can you expect to effectively enter the market from a position of strength?

An eMarketer study discovered that China’s:

  • Ad spend accounts for over 15% of worldwide ad spend
  • Growth in ad spend per year, per person, is double that of the US
  • More than 2/3s of total advertising spending is digital (a trend expected to hit 80% by 2023)
  • Mobile ad spend is expected to exceed $63B in 2019, breaking $100B by 2023 (mobile advertising dominates in China).

So what does all this mean?

Number of internet users in China is growing

The consumer market in China is growing, and organizations that get in early have an advantage. When you’re talking about consumers who have contributed to one-seventh of the world’s growth over the last 10 years, who wouldn’t want an advantage?

In China, that advantage is found in digital advertising, with the top channels being:

  • WeChat (Tencent — 12% of the market by ad spend) — Multi-purpose messaging app for social media, mobile payments, messaging, and more. Similar to Whatsapp+Facebook in the West.
  • QQ (Tencent  — 12% of the market by ad spend) — Instant messaging software and web portal. Similar to MSN, GoogleTalk, and Yahoo Messenger in the West.
  • DouYin (ByteDance — 3% of the market by ad spend) — Social media app for sharing short, funny / talent videos. Known as TikTok outside of China.
  • Baidu (Baidu — 17% of the market by ad spend) — Chinese tech company specializing in AI, search engines, maps, and more.
    Similar to Google in the West.
  • Weibo (Sina Corp — 3% of the market by ad spend) — Chinese microblogging website. This is like a combination of Twitter+Reddit in the West.
  • Toutiao (ByteDance — 3% of the market by ad spend) — News and information platform serving tailored feed of relevant news for each user.
Given the massive number of internet users in China, these percentages represent a huge amount of potential consumers.
If you’re eager to discover which platforms best suit your industry and target market, get in touch with us to find out.

As always, there are challenges you should know about too.

  1. There have been numerous reports of click-fraud in Chinese advertising. While the major channels have largely avoided these scandals (or implemented rigorous detection to reduce and eliminate fraud), it’s something to be aware of.
  2. If you use, you’re protected by a) our use of the top-tier channels, and b) our transparent and automated reporting directly from channel into the AdChina platform.
  3. Smaller platforms stack ads on top of each other, so multiple are loaded but only the top one presented. Practices like this are not facilitated by

There are also a lot of exciting things happening in the Chinese advertising space:

  1. Programmatic advertising is growing and has become a major aspect of advertising in China. This is where a goal is selected by a human, and the price and delivery of ads are optimized by automation. These account for more than two-thirds of digital ads in China.
  2. There’s a wealth of opportunity and expansion happening in China right now. Digital advertising is leading the charge among both domestic and international companies.
  3. Advanced targeting and data sharing help you target your ideal future customers.
Interestingly, the number of internet users in China is still under 60% of the entire population. But it is growing very rapidly — 840 million today, 1.4 billion in next few years.

Hopefully, this gives you an insight into the landscape in China. If you’re considering breaking into China with your brand or organization, click here and let us know a little about your brand. That way we can help you find the best approaches to make your advertising as effective as possible.

Stay tuned for the next part where you’ll discover what’s happening right now in China.

Advertising in China 2019

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