SHANGHAI: Some 75% of senior marketers in China predict the nation's economy will recover in 2010, and nearly two-thirds say their budgets for this year have either been increased or remained constant, according to figures from Millward Brown-ACSR and Hill & Knowlton.

Chinese consumers are changing certain aspects of their behaviour in the downturn, but the country is still expected to post adspend growth this year.

The two companies surveyed 100 senior marketers from both multinational and Chinese firms, and found that respondents expected its economy to improve more rapidly than elsewhere, largely because consumers there have been less affected than their counterparts elsewhere.

Confidence in the economic rebound rose in line with marketers' seniority, with 81% of those at the top level expecting a recovery next year compared with 71% for those in more junior roles.

A total of 63% of participants said they will spend either more on advertising or the same amount as last year in 2009, compared with 18% who stated they would reduce their outlay by over a fifth.

In terms of overall priorities, over 50% of those surveyed were focusing on "retaining existing clients", making it the most mentioned aim, while just 5% cited "retaining talented employees", making it the lowest stated ambition for this year.

Jason Spencer, managing director of Millward Brown-ACSR Shanghai, said many marketers also appeared to be "cutting down on lower reach channels such as sponsorship."

Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by WARC staff