Market rebounds thanks to 'Net, telecoms

HONG KONG — The Asia Pacific advertising market — valued at upward of $24 billion, excluding Japan — has rebounded from the economic turmoil that roiled the continent over the past few years, according to ACNielsen Media Intl.

“All major ad markets except Taiwan have returned to or exceeded the pre-crisis level,” said the Hong Kong-based company, a unit of ACNielsen Corp.

Indonesia (up 40%), South Korea (33%) and Thailand (31%) led the recovery, the company said. Taiwan was the only country still in negative territory, down 24%, but that was chalked up to the major earthquake that hit there last September.

Information technology and telecommunications companies have led the charge, especially in Australia, Hong Kong and China, where dot-coms are racing to establish brand names, said Steven Yung, president of ACNielsen Media Intl.

Frank Martell, chief operating officer of ACNielsen, Asia/Japan, said that 1999 was “a solid recovery year, and we believe the ground has been laid for accelerated growth in 2000.” Eight of the 12 markets Nielsen measures saw double-digit growth, he added.

China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and New Zealand exceeded their pre-crisis 1997 levels, Martell said. He noted that the 1999 growth stands in sharp contrast to the troubles of 1998, when five markets contracted between 7% and 25% and four managed only single-digit growth.

Television remained the predominant advertising medium, Nielsen reported. Indeed, in China 70¢ of every advertising dollar goes into television.

China is also the biggest market in the region, with $6.1 billion in gross ad spend. South Korea is second with $4 billion, while Australia and Hong Kong each tally just over $3 billion.

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