On­line pro­mo­tions to face more scru­tiny

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By MENGJING mengjing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

On­line ad­ver­tis­ing will be sub­ject to more scru­tiny in China, af­ter a top reg­u­la­tor said on Wed­nes­day that the gov­ern­ment would come out with more rules to su­per­vise the sec­tor.

Zhang Guo­hua, head of the ad­ver­tise­ment su­per­vi­sion depart­ment at the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion for In­dus­try and Com­merce, said his depart­ment will take more steps to curb il­le­gal and fake on­line ad­ver­tise­ments.

“Those who break the rules will face strength­ened su­per­vi­sion and higher fines,” said Zhang dur­ing the launch cer­e­mony­ofChina’s first na­tional mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing reg­u­la­tion in Bei­jing.

The newly in­tro­duced reg­u­la­tion fo­cuses on the tech­ni­cal side of the mo­bile ad­vert­ing in­dus­try, but Zhang said that more rules and reg­u­la­tions tar­get­ing the con­tent of on­line ad­ver­tise­ments are ex­pected to be rolled out soon.

Zhang said a data cen­ter ded­i­cated to mon­i­tor­ing In­ter­net ad­ver­tise­ments is un­der con­struc­tion in East China’s Zhe­jiang prov­ince. “The cen­ter, which is ex­pected to be com­pleted this year, will check all the ad­ver­tise­ments on China’s 100 ma­jor search en­gines and por­tal web­sites,” he said.

Zhang’s speech came one day af­ter a well-known tooth­paste brand owned by multi­na­tional firm Proc­ter & Gam­ble­was­fined 6.03 mil­lion yuan ($960,000) for its false TV com­mer­cial, the big­gest amount that China has im­posed on mis­lead­ing ad­ver­tise­ments.

The Shang­hai Ad­min­is­tra­tion for In­dus­try and Com­merce said on Tues­day that tooth­paste brand Crest ex­ag­ger­ated the whiten­ing ef­fectof one of its prod­ucts, by pho­to­shop­ping the ad­ver­tise­ment.

Zhang said that though the on­line ad­ver­tise­ment en­vi­ron­ment is get­ting cleaner and more reg­u­lated, a size­able pro­por­tion of on­line ads are still of du­bi­ous na­ture.

“More than 30 per­cent of the on­line ads in sec­tors like med­i­cal treat­ment, medicine, health prod­ucts and cos­met­ics are in vi­o­la­tion of cer­tain rules and reg­u­la­tions,” he said.

Com­pared with the shrink­ing mar­ket of tra­di­tional ad­vise­ment chan­nels, such as news­pa­pers, the rev­enue from In­ter­net ad­ver­tise­ments has been soar­ing over the past sev­eral years.

Statis­tics from the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion for In­dus­try and Com­merce showed that In­ter­net ad­ver­tise­ment rev­enue in China jumped 36.7 per­cent year-on-year to 90 bil­lion yuan in 2014. “If you take the ad­ver­tise­ment rev­enues of search en­gines and e-com­merce plat­forms into ac­count, the size of the on­line ad­ver­tise­mentsec­tor is­ex­pected to­have ex­ceeded 200 bil­lion yuan last year,” said Zhang from SAIC.

Wei Xiangchao, an an­a­lyst with Bei­jing-based In­ter­net con­sul­tancy Analysys In­ter­na­tional, said that with smartphones be­com­ing an in­te­gral part of ev­ery­day life, mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing is set for ro­bust growth in the com­ing years with sev­eral in­no­va­tive op­tions to do pro­mo­tions via lo­ca­tion-based tech­nol­ogy.

“A more de­tailed reg­u­la­tion is good for the sus­tain­able growth of the on­line ad­vert­ing sec­tor as ev­ery player can have a uni­fied bench­mark amid com­pe­ti­tion,” he said.

Zhu Guang, vice-pres­i­dent of the Bei­jing-based Baidu Inc, said that mo­bile In­ter­net brings plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for ad­ver­tis­ers. The ad­ver­tise­ment rev­enue gen­er­ated by the mo­bile apps of Baidu has ex­ceeded the amount gen­er­ated by the com­pany’s search en­gines on per­sonal com­put­ers at the end of 2014.

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