BEIJING: Major advertisers including L'Oréal, KFC and China Mobile boosted their traditional media adspend in China last year, and thus came among the leaders in the country's expenditure charts.

According to CTR, the research company, total advertising expenditure levels rose by 13% in 2011, outstripping the country's annual economic growth rate of 9.2%. It predicted ad revenues would rise by a further 11% this year.

This chimes with Warc's latest International Ad Forecast, released earlier this week, which predicted adspend growth of 11.5% for China in 2012.

L'Oréal, the beauty giant, was the biggest advertiser of 2011, and increased its spending by 38%. KFC, the fast-food chain, was second, and delivered a 10% expansion.

Olay, Procter & Gamble's cosmetics brand, was down by 15%, in third, while Wahaha, the beverage group, was up by 16% in fourth. China Mobile, the telco, completed the top five, raising its outgoings by 5%.

Yili, the dairy firm, was up 17% and, Master Kong, the food and beverage specialist, logged a 6% lift, but Sanchine, the healthcare firm, registered a 4% decline. McDonald's, the quick service chain, saw an 18% hike in expenditure, and made up the top ten.

Television, China's largest advertising medium, exactly matched the market growth rate, although the introduction of tighter rules on the number and length of ads may pose obstacles going forward.

Elsewhere, radio benefited from a 28% expansion on an annual basis, with financial services, insurance providers and telcos among the top ten brand owners utilising this channel.

Magazines enjoyed a 14% lift in ad sales year on year, while newspapers witnessed an 11% leap during the same period.

Mainstream outdoor spending was "stagnant" with growth of 1%, not least due to a lack of industry development. Subway advertising, however, grew by 26% as the transport infrastructure improved.

Outdoor screens on buses expanded by 25% and LCD screens in offices and similar locations yielded a 34% increase, helping the out-of-home sector grow by 6% overall.

Toiletries remained the most valuable category, with brands in this segment raising their collective outlay by 9%. Business and services in second and beverages in third were both up by 10%.

Food advertisers, in fourth, augmented their combined outlay by 9%, while pharmaceuticals grew by 6%. Financial services, cleaning products and IT also recorded impressive gains.

Data sourced from CTR; additional content by Warc staff