BEIJING: L'Oréal, KFC and McDonald's are among the firms that have boosted their adspend in China this year, as they seek to engage shoppers in this increasingly vital market.

CTR, the research firm, reported that expenditure levels through traditional media climbed by 14% annually in the first nine months of 2011, although this marked a slowdown on the growth rate lodged a year earlier.

Television, the biggest medium by revenue, saw ad sales jump by 14%, a figure standing at 15% for newspapers and magazines. Radio enjoyed a 30% lift, while outdoor witnessed a modest gain of 1%.

By category, brands in the toiletries sector augmented their investment in advertising by 9%, meaning this remained the most valuable segment in all.

The business and services industry, in second place in terms of overall worth, lodged an 11% leap. Beverage companies raised budgets by 7% and food and pharma firms were both up 9%.

However, financial services was actually the fastest-growing segment, registering a 37.1% improvement. It was followed by real estate, which yielded a 33.7% uptick, according to CTR.

L'Oréal, the cosmetics company, assumed the status as the biggest advertiser in China during the opening nine months of 2011, having ramped up its spending by 36% year on year.

KFC, the fast food chain, assumed second position after delivering a 9% increase. Wahaha, the food and beverage manufacturer, claimed third having boosted its outlay by 10%.

China Mobile, the telecoms giant, was fourth and has enhanced expenditure rates by 8%. Olay, the cosmetics brand, was fifth, but cut back by 22% on an annual basis.

Yili, the dairy group, was up 6% and took sixth spot, while Master Kong, the food and beverage firm, posted a modest 1% improvement.

Daliyuan, another food specialist, was up 37%, and McDonald's, the quick service chain, logged a 26% rise, and both organisations were new entrants to the top ten.

Mengniu, another player in the dairy industry, closed out this group, but was off by 6%.

Warc's latest International Ad Forecast, which was published earlier this month, predicted that Chinese adspend would rise by 12% in 2011 and 11% in 2012.

Data sourced from CTR; additional content by Warc staff