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China’s ad sales may unseat Japan

Spend in 2005 was around $37 billion

China is on the verge of overtaking Japan as the second largest market for advertising in the world, according to Nielsen Media Research chairman and CEO Robert L. McCann.

Already the world’s fastest growing ad market for several consecutive years, China’s ad spend in 2005 was around $37 billion, just shy of Japan’s $38.4 billion.

In 2004, China ranked fifth in the world.

At current growth rates, China will almost certainly overtake Japan in 2006, and it may not be that much longer before China overtakes the U.S.

For the first time since advertising records began, America will not lead the world in advertising spending increases this year.

Forecasts suggest the increase in spending between 2005 and 2006 in China will be $4.2 billion, while the U.S. notches up a $4 billion increase.

Bucking the global downward trend in traditional print advertising sales, China’s print ad revenue continues to grow at around 9% a year.

Online advertising sales remain low in China, at only $230 million (less than 1%) of the total. With 160 million Internet users in China, there’s plenty of room for growth.

In addition, with the 2008 Beijing Olympics drawing near there is plenty of upside for advertising sales on the Mainland.

In an interview with state-owned news wire Xinhua, McCann commented, “There is a belief that there will be a significant increase in 2007 and 2008 leading into the Games in terms of advertising expenditure.”

China is leaving nothing to chance when it comes to the Beijing Olympics. Officials on Dec. 8 confirmed the launch of the Fengyuan 2D geostationary orbit meteorological satellite, which will provide weather information in the run up to, and during, the 2008 Olympic Games.

The satellite “will provide accurate and timely information about weather changes to help us with forecasts during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,” Li Qin, chief designer of the FY-2D, explained to Xinhua, “especially for the opening and closing ceremony and important contests.”