HONG KONG: Digital advertising expenditure is set to grow across Asia in the next five years but most spectacularly in China where it will account for over half of all advertising by 2018, according to a new report.

Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2014 to 2018, from consulting firm PwC, predicted that digital's share of advertising revenues in mainland China would increase from 40% in 2013 to 55% in 2018.

"In China, the biggest form of mass media is by far the internet," Marcel Fenez, PwC's global leader for entertainment and media, told the South China Morning Post. "The power of the internet in China for advertising is huge."

Hong Kong, however, was expected to lag some way behind, rising from 14% to 18% over the same period. Fenez attributed this to it being a small geographical market and therefore easier for brands to reach consumers using other media.

South Korea (up from 35% to 46%), Australia (30% to 43%), New Zealand (19% to 28%) were the other countries in the Asia-Pacific region forecast to see digital take a significant share of the advertising market.

Only two more were set to achieve double-digit shares: Singapore (up from 12% to 18%) and India (6% to 10%).

For most of the remaining five countries digital advertising share was doubling or even trebling, albeit from a low base. In Indonesia, it was projected to increase from 1% to 3%, in the Philippines from 4% to 9%, in Thailand from 2% to 5% and in Vietnam from 3% to 6%; Malaysia bucked this particular trend in rising only from 5% to 7%.

Across most of these markets print media were expected to suffer most, particularly newspapers. But Fenez was cautiously optimistic about the future for news brands generally, which he described as "hugely valuable" thanks to the editorial process.

"I would say the news brand is a filter, as there is so much information," he said. "It is an important role, as otherwise we will be bombarded by messages."

Data sourced from South China Morning Post, Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff