LONDON/SINGAPORE: The fastest growth in global adspend over the next few years will come from "fast-track Asia", a group of countries in the region characterised by rapid economic growth and significant levels of inward investment according to a new report.

Latest forecasts from media buying agency Zenith Optimedia highlighted Asia as a driver of worldwide growth in advertising expenditure, with a nine-strong group in the region expanding at 9.1% a year between 2014 and 2017.

And within Fast-Track Asia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam are set to be the star performers as each is projected to increase at double-digit rates over the period.

China alone accounts for two thirds of fast-track Asia spending and as its economy starts to slow, so too will its ad market, Zenith Optimedia noted.

Looking at just the current year, it expected that Fast-Track Asia will grow at 9.4%, more than three times as fast as Western and Central Europe (3.1%) and more than twice the growth rate of North America (3.6%) and Advanced Asia (3.5%), this latter group including Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia.

Japan behaves differently enough from other markets in Asia to be treated separately. The country "remains stuck in its rut of persistent low growth", said Zenith Optimedia, with adspend growth having averaged 2% a year for the last five years; it anticipated that growth would continue at that level between 2014 and 2017.

Only Latin America comes close to challenging Fast-Track Asia in terms of growth. This region is projected to increase at 8.2% in 2015 and 8.3% in 2016, helped by the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, before dropping sharply to 4.3% in 2017.

While Fast-Track Asia is the region driving global adspend, the internet is the medium doing so. And it will overtake television as the leading one by 2017.

"The internet is quickly establishing itself as the dominant advertising medium, and on current trends will overtake television by the end of the decade," according to Steve King, ZenithOptimedia chief executive.

"However, this refers only to traditional television viewed on TV sets," he added. "The amount of time viewers spend watching online video on their laptops, tablets and smartphones is increasing rapidly, and advertisers are shifting their budgets online to follow them".

Warc's own International Ad Forecast is due for publication next month.

Data sourced from Zenith Optimedia; additional content by Warc staff