China - currently the globe's fifth largest advertising market - is on its way to becoming the second largest, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Its latest report predicts China will overtake Japan as number two within the next ten years as the former's adspend continues to soar. Figures for the period October 2003 - September 2004 show an advertising surge of 32% to $18.9 billion (€14.4bn, £10bn) in the most populous nation on earth.

Says Forrest Didier, Asia-Pacific managing director of Nielsen: "China continues to maintain the pace of growth we've had in recent years."

Brands from such global giants as Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive comprise five of the ten most advertised products in China. Television is the most popular medium, accounting for 76% of adspend.

Because of the boom, many Chinese TV networks have increased ad rates by between 20% and 30%, though there are discounts for the biggest spenders.

The whole of the Asia Pacific region, outside Japan (which has yet to publish annual expenditure data), enjoyed an adspend increase of 28%. As a result, the region's cable and satellite TV channels and program suppliers saw 2004 revenue rise 12% to $5.7bn, according to Hong Kong-based Media Partners Asia.

However, the picture is less rosy in South Korea where advertisers spent 6% less - about $5.2bn before adjustments for ratecard discounts - following a similar shrinkage in expenditure in 2003.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff