China's ad market booming

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BEIJING -- China's advertising market reached 386.6 billion yuan ($49.8 billion) in 2006, with television ads accounting for 81% of total ad revenue and magazine ads growing the fastest year on year, Nielsen Media Research said Friday.

Five years since China joined the World Trade Organization, the country's advertising market growth in 2006 was led by consumers' interest in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and toiletries, and by their growing ability to buy cars, use credit cards and go on vacation, Nielsen said in a five-page report.

"With a 1.31 billion consumer base, an influx of multinational brands, and the upcoming Beijing Olympics, China is the most attractive advertising market in the world," said the report issued by the Shanghai office of Nielsen, a sister company of the Hollywood Reporter.

"Going forward, we will not only see greater advertising investment, but also healthier growth as the market matures," said Nielsen, which has tracked China's ad market since 1997. The report did not give comparable 2005 total China advertising figures.

Chinese TV broadcasting of more sports and reality shows related to the Olympics in 2006 helped official sponsors of the 2008 Games, such as Sprite and China Petroleum among others, to become household names, Nielsen said.

Car ads pulled themselves out of a 2005 downturn, with advertisements for energy-saving models leading the way as China's extreme pollution problem persists. In 2006, top car brands were the local Chang'An, for the second year in a row, with Toyota ranked No. 2.

Leading advertisers in the tourism, travel and hotel categories were Hong Kong Disneyland (113 million yuan or $14.4 million), the city of Kunming in Southwest China's Yunnan Province (92 million yuan or $11.8 million), and Malaysian Airlines (83 million yuan or $10.6 million).  
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