BEIJING: The growth potential of China's online advertising market has been highlighted by new data from Nielsen/NetRatings.

The researcher's snapshot of spending from May 1 through July 31 shows advertisers spent $190 million (€149m; £101.5m) online in mainland China, nearly as much as on magazines. The results are the first from Nielsen's newly launched AdRelevance online ad tracking service in China.

The figures represent just 3% of total adspend in the country, compared with the US where online accounts for 6% of total spend.

Nielsen reports the single biggest online advertiser from May through July was cellphone provider China Mobile.

The researcher also found the biggest online-advertising spenders were in the automotive, computer and electronics and consumer-goods industries.

At the bottom of the list were banks and other financial services, which dominate online spending in most other markets but account for 3% in China.

The number of internet users in China has reached 123m, a figure that places it second behind the US's 204m.

Comments Steven Chang, ceo of media agency Optimedia: "In China, when the internet works, it really works. The propensity among young people to respond to some online marketing mechanisms can be overwhelming."

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