The China Chapter of the International Advertising Association will in May 2004 host its 39th World Congress, the IAA announced in New York on Wednesday. It will be staged in Beijing – the first global advertising event to be held in the Chinese capital.

Says IAA world president David Hanger: “The IAA executive committee and its worldwide board of directors both voted unanimously for the China Chapter.”

Their votes were swung, according to IAA director general Wally O'Brien, a former vice-chair of J Walter Thompson, by a “superb” presentation. “It showed a sense of leadership, and demonstrated that China's developing advertising industry understands commercial communications has a dual role: a societal as well as an economic responsibility.”

O’Brien believes China is the appropriate place to conduct a global congress in 2004 as it will be of increasing importance to global brand builders. With a population of over 1.2 billion, and less than half the USA’s ratio of advertising to GDP, China's ad industry has enormous scope for growth. Recently, annual advertising investment has risen at a rate of 40%.

The vast nation is now the biggest advertising market in the Asia/Pacific region and the China Chapter's bid was led by its president Madame Hui Lusheng, deputy director of China Industry and Commerce Bureau. Says Lusheng: “Now that China has joined the WTO, its pace to become part of the global market will be accelerated.”

With members in ninety-five nations, the IAA is the only global partnership of advertisers, agencies, the media and related services.

News source: AdAge Global; IAA website