BEIJING: Advertising expenditure levels in China rose by 12%, to $54 billion (€35.8bn; £32.4bn), during the first three quarters of this year, with Procter & Gamble and Unilever among the biggest spenders.

Figures from CTR Marketing Research showed that television took a market share of 78% in the period from January to September, at $42.1bn, an uptick of 14% on an annual basis.

Newspaper revenues reached $6.9bn, up by 7% year-on-year, with outdoor also improving by some 6%, to $2.5bn.

This rate of expansion moderated to 1% for radio, on $1.1bn, while magazine ad sales actually declined slightly, to $1.3bn.

Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, was responsible for $2.04bn of the total delivered in the timeframe under assessment, followed by Unilever, one of its biggest rivals, on $1.29bn.

However, both of these firms recorded a contraction in their outlay, with P&G off by 13.7%, while Unilever was down by a less substantial 1.7%.

By contrast, Ting Hsin International, the packaged food specialist, boosted its communications budget by 105%, with L'Oréal up by 50.8% on this measure.

Harbin Pharmaceutical, Parkson, Coca-Cola, Wahaha, China Mobile and Sanjing Pharmaceutical made up the top ten, having all devoted more funds to advertising than the previous year.

The beverage sector as a whole was up 52% on this measure, with Master Kong and Wahaha driving this trend, having also been among the major players at a recent upfront held by China Central Television, the state-owned broadcaster.

As previously reported, new restrictions on TV advertising are set to come into effect in China in 2010, with CTR estimating that the medium's rate card price will rise by 24% as a consequence.

Tao Tian, vice president of the company, argued that "given the limitation of TV ad resources, there will be approximately $1.84bn of advertising expenditure outflow from TV media."

Data sourced from Media; additional content by Warc staff