HONG KONG: Mobile users in China are more than twice as likely as their counterparts in the US or UK to click on ads if the content is relevant to them new research has shown.

PwC, the consultancy, surveyed 1,000 Chinese mobile users for its Mobile Advertising in China report and found that 78% of respondents in China would be likely to take this action, compared to just 33% in the UK and 29% in the US, according to data reported by Campaign Asia-Pacific.

Further, they were actively engaging with mobile ads to a greater extent, with 40% clicking intentionally, whether they subsequently interacted with the brand or not, while only 17% did this in the UK and 15% in the US.

Acceptable criteria for targeted advertising included interests (76%), online purchases (50%), location (40%) and mobile browsing (36%). Only in the case of location did consumers in the UK and US agree with those in China, otherwise they typically scored between ten and twenty points lower.

This greater openness to mobile advertising may in part be due to the willingness of Chinese consumers to share their personal data. Some 59% said they were happy to do so in order to receive fewer untargeted ads. This incentive attracted far less support in the UK (27%) and the US (26%).

The offer of a free app in return for personal data produced a similar result. "Giving away free content in exchange for personal data should be a core marketing channel for brands attempting to attract consumers in China," Colin Light, PwC's mainland China and Hong Kong digital consulting leader, told the South China Morning Post.

The report said that video (36%) and coupons (33%) were by far the preferred formats for mobile advertising in China, that the best time to engage was on the way to work or at weekends and that frequency should be restricted to between four and six times a week.

"China is mobile-first as a nation of shoppers," said Light. "Companies that use customer data to differentiate offers and drive brand engagement have a better chance of influencing buying behaviour before and after a purchase."

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