Direct marketing in China is booming and will have grabbed a larger share of the overall advertising budget by the end of the year, official figures have shown.

The Commercial Advertising Association (CAA) said direct marketing will account for between three and five per cent of the advertising industry’s total 2006 turnover.

CAA chairman Zhou Keren said that new technology had helped advertisers target their intended audience more accurately, both through traditional mail and online.

Despite tight restrictions on access to foreign websites, online marketing is becoming increasingly popular among Chinese firms. According to the CAA, Chinese companies spent 3 billion yuan (£198 million) in this area last year, up from 1.9 billion yuan (£125 million) the previous year.

Foreign investment in China remains tightly regulated by the government, but western companies will nonetheless be interested in the success businesses are having with various marketing techniques.

China is the world’s fastest growing economy and with record levels of industrial output, the country has a growing middle class with money to spend.

Such a potentially huge new market could be highly profitable for western exporters and marketing specialists alike.
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