Mainland China continues to show the strongest advertising growth in the Asia Pacific region, according to the latest figures from Nielsen Media Research.

The region's above-the-line adspend rose by 15% in the year ended March 31 to $71 billion (€55.82bn; £38.56bn).

China's advertisers spent around $41bn across television, newspapers and magazines, resulting in a rise of 21% over the previous year. Adspend in the top three categories -pharmaceutical, toiletries and retail and services - accounted for more than half of the total growth in all sectors in the country.

Comments Richard Basil-Jones, Nielsen's managing director for Asia/Pacific: "International credit cards, represented by Visa and MasterCard, have been one of the highlights in the Chinese advertising market since the latter half of 2005."

Communications, an average performer in 2005, saw key cellphone firms spending heavily on campaigns prior to and during the Chinese New Year.

Cars and related products are expected to see significant growth in advertising investment through 2006. With the rising price of fuel, the promotion of small cars may also drive further growth in this category.

The figures also show that ads for consumer goods such as jewellery and baby-related products increased in the first quarter of this year.

Haircare marketers, led by Procter & Gamble, spent $3bn overall on advertising in the last year, with China comprising more than two thirds of total spend in the category.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff