BEIJING: Olay, L'Oréal and KFC were among the biggest advertisers in China during the first half of 2010, new figures show.

According to CTR, the research firm, adspend in the country rose 17% to 277bn yuan ($40.9bn; €31.1bn; £26.0bn) in the opening six months of this year, the largest increase in four years.

Within this, totals improved by 22% in Q1 before moderating slightly in Q2, and CTR predicted revenues would leap 13% in 2010.

Television advertising sales climbed 15% to 215.9bn yuan in H1 despite the fact governmental regulations had effectively reduced the amount of inventory by 13%.

Provincial stations benefitted from a particular surge in demand, as many brand owners decided to shift their focus to the local level.

However, radio recorded the fastest rate of growth overall, of 35% to 6.5bn yuan, partly because more consumers are tuning in using mobile handsets.

Print also generated an impressive uptick, as magazines enjoyed gains of 21% to 7.1bn yuan and newspaper returns increased by 22% to 33.8bn yuan.

While tighter restrictions on billboard and poster sites meant the available outdoor space contracted 4%, takings soared by 23% to 13.6bn yuan.

The Shanghai Expo and Asian Games both contributed substantially to this trend, CTR argued.

By category, the cosmetics sector was responsible for the highest outlay on 43.3bn yuan, a jump of 26% on the same period in 2009.

Elsewhere, firms in the business and services industry boosted their budgets by 10% to 34.6bn yuan, figures that stood at 29% and 33.5bn yuan respectively for beverages.

Food was up 3.0% to 27.5bn yuan, while pharma was essentially flat on 25.3bn yuan.

Olay, Procter & Gamble's skincare range, led the brand rankings after increasing its expenditure by 43% to 3.8bn yuan, with L'Oréal's investment expanding by 31% to 3.7bn yuan.

Wahaha, the food and beverage manufacturer, was in third on 3.4bn yuan having enhanced its spend by 17%, with KFC, the fast food chain, in fourth, up 43% to 3.3bn yuan.

Yili, the dairy specialist, completed the top five, and heightened its communications funding by 51% to 2.9bn yuan.

China Mobile, the wireless giant, delivered growth of just 2% to 2.7bn yuan, with Master Kong, another FMCG group, directing around a third more resources to advertising, on 2.6bn yuan.

Jiangzhong and Sanchine, the healthcare companies, both reined in their activity, down by 14% and 21% in turn to approximately 19bn yuan each.

Data sourced from CTR; additional content by Warc staff