While the U.S. is still the most lucrative advertising market, China is quickly rising through the ranks. According to eMarketer, brands are projected to spend $73.13 billion in total media advertising in the country in 2015, over $30 billion more than in Japan.
"China is one of the fastest-growing advertising markets in the world," said DDB Worldwide CEO Chuck Brymer. "You're seeing a significant amount of investment from multinational companies and international business. We're now starting to see a significant part of that investment from Chinese companies."
It seems China is realizing that big brands want to market to its citizens, and is adding stricter regulations to its advertising industry to entice them. State media outlet Xinhua News Agency reported that in April, the country passed rules against false advertising, preventing companies from saying they are the best without any evidence. It also barred celebrities from extolling the virtues of products without being able to attest personally to their quality. Mashable said that breaking the new laws can carry fines of up to 1 million yuan or a little over $157,000.
"Celebrity in China is often used to replace concept," said Huge agency's creative director, David Tupper. "In Shanghai, for instance, it is not uncommon to travel from the Pudong airport into the city center and pass a collection of billboards sporting the smiling face of Brad Pitt or George Clooney. It's frustrating to say the least, as the images used are so obviously placed as an afterthought beside the product."
Other updated rules included banning advertising in schools or on educational materials, and preventing children under the age of 10 from endorsing products. China also cracked down on tobacco advertising, banning ads in mass media, in public places or directly to minors.