Chinese ad industry ‘rises to the creative challenge’

 Caa's Zhang Guohua

Caa's Zhang Guohua

 

CHINA’s vibrant creative economy was under the spotlight yesterday at the 2018 China Day, designed to open a window on the culture, methodology and expertise of the world’s second largest advertising market.
“It’s a chance for the major players in Chinese advertising to tell the world about their new technology, expertise and concepts, as well as share their insights into what is happening in the Chinese advertising market,” said Zhang Guohua, president of the China Advertising Association (CAA).
The biggest trend is undoubtedly the volcanic growth of Chinese internet advertising. “The watershed year was 2015, which was when internet advertising overtook the traditional advertising platforms,” Zhang said. “Since then, progress has been very fast. In 2017, the total revenue of the Chinese advertising industry was $100bn, of which the internet was responsible for 60%.”
But although the Chinese advertising market is developing rapidly, there remain challenges, notably in terms of creativity. “As a nation, we are very good at technology,” Zhang said. “And because our market is very competitive and profit-oriented, Chinese companies have prioritised technology over creativity. Fortunately, that’s beginning to change and more Chinese brands and agencies are realising that creativity is important, especially if they want to export their products and services.”
Zhang admitted that there is a “huge gap” between the Chinese advertising’s industry’s international success and that of his country’s other industrial sectors. “In most industries, China leads the world in terms of exports, but that’s not the case in advertising,” he said. “We want to close that gap.”
The CAA’s presence in Cannes is part of that strategy: “As well as telling the world about Chinese advertising and its major stakeholders, we are using the Lions as a platform to learn more about creativity around the world, and where China stands in relation to its international competitors.”
He added: “The vast size of the Chinese market means that many Chinese brands never look beyond China’s borders. In future, the CAA would like to see more local companies using Chinese creativity to build their brands internationally.”

 
Harriet Palmer