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New Online Advertising Rules in China

New Online Advertising Rules in China

New online advertising regulation in China will impact all digital business with presence in China. Here we bring you an analysis overview to start adapting to the new trend in advertisement.


It would be after the death of a college student who took part in an experimental health treatment found in Baidu, when popular pressure would force the Government to begin an ads regulatory change.

The Internet Ad Interim Measures, a new regulation prompted by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of China, went into effect in September 1st. Therefore, it arises from the Government’s claim by adopt new rules over online advertisement: email, paid searches, embedded links, images, and videos are already subject to the new law. Its aim is avoiding the spread of misleading advertisements on the Net, and correct the prevailing liberality so far.

The new online advertising regulations are expected to impact on Chinese Digital Marketing as a whole: social media, search engines, apps and electronic commerce in the country will have to move under the new guidelines.


A step closer to the uses and customs in Western advertisements

For the first time in China, the new measure features a specific definition of Internet advertising; often, foreigners suffer from a lack of legislative safety in China. Therefore, conceptualization is a step forward to define clearly not only the concept, but also its extension:

“Internet advertising is advertisements that directly or indirectly sell commercial goods or services through the websites, web pages, internet applications and other forms of Internet media including text, images, audio, video and etc.”

Moreover, the regulation comes to underline its main purpose:

“To protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, and promote the healthy development of the Internet advertising industry.”

New Online Advertising Rules in China


In what fields are these changes applicable?  What changes will take place after its implementation?

The regulation is particularly focused on a list of fields described below:

-Healthcare and medicine

-Food and beverage

The main measures to be starting to apply can be summarized as:

First, the Law requires to place the word “advertisement” in a prominent position and clearly distinguishable at first sight.

Second, every field subject of special regulation needs a previous review and an approval process by authorities.

Third, online advertisements for prescription medicine is banned. A special measure in health products is also extended to medicines, pesticides or medical supplies.

Fourth, tobacco online ads are also banned.

Fifth, any paid search results, links or content must be clearly identified by the word “advertisement”.

Sixth, users should not only have the choice to close an ad, but also this has to be easy to them.

Seventh, paid links and contents must be clearly detailed at a glance.

Eighth, any attached ad and/or promotional links to an email should have been allowed previously.

Ninth, any misleading and/or false ad is considered illegal from now on.


Who is especially affected by the new regulation?

Under this measure, the biggest impact falls on the largest Internet companies in China. Baidu and Bing should apply new restrictions on ads; it should not be forgotten that, much of the incomes of Baidu, Weibo or Alibaba come advertising.

New Online Advertising Rules in China

But also traditional Social Media must change. WeChat or Weibo offer paid content; as we mention before, pop-ups, ads or links should be first permitted, which will force companies to evolve the way advertising is offered to Chinese users.  Seems marketers should start creating better ads, or contravening the prevailing legislation with all the penalties that that means.


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