BEIJING: Procter & Gamble, L'Oréal and Unilever were the top advertisers in China last year, new figures show.

Research firm CTR reported that traditional media expenditure levels climbed 13% in 2010, based on ratecard estimates.

Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, took pole position having spent $5.2bn (€3.8bn; £3.2bn), equivalent to a 5.8% share.

Cosmetics manufacturer L'Oréal claimed second on $2bn, replacing Unilever, a rival to P&G, which dedicated $1.7bn to supporting its portfolio.

Yum Brands, parent of Pizza Hut and KFC, followed with $1.4bn, while soft drinks titan Coca-Cola occupied fifth, yielding $1.1bn.

Wahaha, which produces goods such as fruit juice and tea, was the highest-ranking domestic corporation, on $920m.

Telecoms operator China Mobile logged $880m, food group Tinghsin recorded $840m, dairy specialist Yili invested $760m and Harbin Pharmaceutical generated $660m.

Suning, Gome and Midea also raised their outlay, a move stimulated by the government's decision to subsidise the purchase of appliances like washing machines, microwaves and PCs by rural customers.

By media, television's pace of growth lagged the industry as a whole for the first time, even though sales surged 11% to $68.6bn.

Overall, the medium held a 76% market share, a slight contraction year-on-year, as the introduction of tighter regulations on the number and length of spots led to the "diversion" of budgets elsewhere.

More positively, the optimisation of available inventory and greater scarcity served to push up TV rates, and satellite stations attracted many marketers.

Newspapers enjoyed a 19% increase, reaching $12.2bn, with household appliances among the main drivers of this trend.

Magazines experienced a similar expansion, posting $2.4bn, not least thanks to rising interest from luxury brands.

Radio secured a 33% leap to $2.3bn, and outdoor jumped 16% to $4.2bn, as the popularity of new formats helped offset the declining number of sites.

In terms of individual categories, the toiletries sector boosted its expenditure by 20%, registering $13.9bn, ahead of the business and services segment, where totals rose 10% to $11.6bn, particularly benefitting outdoor.

In an indication of the intense competition between beverage brands, spending from this group improved 19%, coming in at $9.6bn.

Less favourably, the food industry reduced its collective outlay by 0.5%, falling below $9bn, largely due to heavy cuts among health food providers.

Pharmaceutical brands enhanced the resources allocated to this area by 5%, delivering $8.1bn.

Automakers also witnessed a 44% uptick - often choosing radio when allotting these funds - a figure hitting 22% regarding the leisure sector.

Looking forward, CTR predicted ad revenues in China would rise by a further 15% in 2011.

Data sourced from CTR; additional content by Warc staff