Led by North Asia and the Pacific, half of the advertising markets in Asia/Pacific experienced a soft first quarter this year, according to ACNielsen Media International.
The market research company found total advertising spending in the region was close to $6 billion during the first quarter. While Southeast Asian markets held up well, they are comparatively small, accounting for only 18% of the total advertising investments in the markets monitored.
Two major markets, South Korea and Australia, experienced negative growth, while Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand grew less than 5% based on rate card values. Even China, a strong growth market in the last couple of years, saw its rate of growth decline by half this year.
South Korea suffered a significant 8.6% drop and appears to have become a victim of the economic downturn and the global dot-com implosion. Advertising in finance and banking dropped a hefty 36% and computer and IT dropped 18%.
China remained the largest advertising market in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) measured by ACNielsen, with spending of $2.5 billion based on rate cards, up 17.5% from last year. Despite this reported increase, the advertising market has slowed down significantly in China compared to last year.
South Korea, the second largest market in 2000, dropped to third place in the first quarter of 2001, as ad spend declined to $753 million from the prior year. Hong Kong moved up to second place with a modest 4.8% growth.
In the Pacific, Australia dropped 3.4% to $631 million while New Zealand experienced sluggish 2% growth to $160 million.
In Southeast Asia, several markets experienced strong double-digit growth. Indonesia, defying political uncertainties, saw advertising expenditure grow by 22%, followed by 19.2% in the Philippines, 13.3% in Malaysia, and 7.8% in Thailand. Singapore had the slowest growth, at 3.9%.