BEIJING: Online advertising expenditure rose by 21.2% in China last year, to 20.61 billion yuan ($3.01bn; €2.21bn; £1.92bn), according to figures from iResearch.

The consultancy, which has offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, recently published its 2009-2010 China Online Advertising Research Report.

It suggested that the 7.9% uptick in GDP recorded by the world's most populous nation over the last 12 months helped insulate the advertising market as a whole from the slowdown witnessed elsewhere.

Online search, dominated by companies like Baidu, saw totals grow by an estimated 38.2%, to 6.95bn yuan, with video-sharing sites and social networks also registering an increase in ad sales.

Revenue levels are predicted to reach 30.1bn yuan in 2010, an improvement of 46.1%, boosted by high-profile events including the World Cup in South Africa and the World Expo in Shanghai.

Looking further forward, this rate of expansion is likely to climb to 49.2% in 2011, when marketers will direct 44.9bn yuan to the internet.

Adspend through this medium will jump by a further 51.2% in 2011, to 67.9bn yuan, and by 46.4% in 2013, to 99.4bn yuan overall.

As previously reported, CTR Research found that total advertising expenditure expanded by 13.5% in China last year, a figure Warc's latest Consensus Forecast pegged at 8.0%.

Data sourced from iResearch; additional content by Warc staff