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China 2008 Ad Spending Buoyed by Olympics; Taiwan Slumps
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China 2008 Ad Spending Buoyed by Olympics; Taiwan Slumps

2008 was a year of highs and lows for China – the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing were a monumental achievement while the Sichuan earthquake in May was tragedy.   The economy recorded 9 percent growth – the first year of single-digit growth since 2003 and below the average rate of 9.8 percent in the past 30 years.  Contrary to experiences in other countries, metrics actually rose in the last quarter of 2008: industrial output, private consumption, retail sales and bank lending all increased.  For the whole year, ad spending posted 17 percent growth.

Media Outlet 2008 (US$000s) 2007 (US$000s) % Change
TV 56,867,178 48,194,680 18%
Newspapers 10,413,785 9,292,743 12%
Magazines 1,523,286 1,275,066 19%
TOTAL 68,804,249 58,762,488 17%
Source: Nielsen AIS

The top 10 advertising categories account for almost 80 percent of total ad spending, with the largest category, pharmaceuticals and health products, increasing 2 percent.  Categories showing the strongest growth were business/industrial/agriculture (50%), clothing & accessories (45%) and foods (32%).  No category showed a decline, although telecommunications recorded no growth on a year-to-year basis.

The top 10 products advertised represented 9.3 percent of all main media ad spending in 2008.  Olay was the top advertiser, with a spend 43 percent higher than the next largest spender, KFC.

Hong Kong also showed solid growth in ad spend in 2008, up 10 percent from 2007, although growth came to almost a standstill in the fourth quarter as the economic downturn took hold.  Newspapers still accounted for the highest share of ad spending – 34 percent – followed by TV at 30 percent.  Meanwhile, radio enjoyed the highest growth, up 54 percent from the previous year, though it still accounted for just 5 percent of ad spending.

The leading category of advertiser in terms of spend was retail, which recorded an 11 percent increase for the year.  Toiletries showed the most impressive growth at 20 percent, while property posted the largest decline at -16 percent.    The lead advertiser in 2008 was Bit Sau Jim Beauty Centre – Slimming, finishing the year 30 percent ahead of second-ranked Park N Shop.

Meanwhile, the advertising environment in Taiwan was a bit gloomier, recording a 7 percent decrease in spending on a year-to-year basis and the second largest decline of the 12 countries Nielsen measures.  The first half of the year saw no growth, while the second half recorded quarterly declines (-6.8% in Q3 and -16.9% in Q4).

Media Outlet 2008 (US$000s) 2007 (US$000s) % Change
TV 136,284 125,433 9%
Newspapers 339,414 418,732 -19%
Magazines 185,339 197,440 -6%
Radio 117,600 115,518 2%
Pay TV 416,204 430,364 -3%
Outdoor 103,193 102,673 1%
TOTAL 1,298,034 1,390,159 -7%
Source: Nielsen AIS

The top ad category in spending terms was architecture, which posted a 17 percent decline for the year.  Only two categories recorded growth: foodstuffs (6%) and computers & accessories (5%). The leading advertiser was Tsann Kuen Trans-Nation Group, a consumer electronics retailer, followed by Elife Mall.