Advertising has become essential when it comes to selling a product or service. Now a days China has become a huge selling target for companies all over the World as the market it offers is extremely attractive.
However China has a lot of restrictions and regulations when it comes to advertising, both offline and online, especially when conducting a China social media marketing or a China Search Engine Marketing campaign.
If you want to enter to their market you need to know all the rules before wasting your money.
First of all it’s important to know that if you must have a business license. It is not required to have a legal entity in China and you can use a Representative Office (RO) that holds its registration certificate. Without this certificate you won’t be able to advertise in China.
For companies registered in China it’s important to know that they can only engage directly in advertising if they have this activity registered in their registered business scope. Otherwise Chinese government will not allow the company to create any official invoice. This will have a direct impact on their clients but as well it might endanger the company as they might affect the company’s minimum required registered capital.
For foreign companies you must work through an advertising agency but you need to make sure that their own business registration scope includes “taking on foreign advertising clients”. If not all the advertising will be banned and the money invested will be lost.
As well it is important to know that there a several limitations on advertising in China. Advertising for certain products like medicines, medical devices, tobacco, pesticides and veterinary medicine need government approval before publication. Ads for food, alcohol, beauty and cosmetic products must be checked and approved by the Ministry of Health and you can’t use medical terms or language as this can confuse users and think of these products as medicines.
As well the roll of Advertising Agencies is crucial in China as they are responsible to screen all the advertising of their clients. They need to have a special staff, specially trained, that is dedicated to make sure their clients’ ads comply with Chinese laws and regulations. As well they need to be always up to date with all the changes made by the Chinese government. They need to keep all the assessments made for their clients’ advertising at least for one year.
In China words like “the best”, “the fastest”, “the most effective” are not allowed and if the Chinese government finds an advertising using these words the company will be fined. Baidu Advertising for example is extremely regulated about this issue.
As well every claim made in advertising should be backed up by data, survey results, studies made, quotes, statistics, as well as the relevant inspection certificates that are issued by the Standards Control Department. As well any other claim made that the product won an award of the government recognition, or possessing patents or trademarks needs to be backed up as well. If you want to make an advertising using someone’s name you need to have the previous written approval from this person.
As well advertising needs to be recognized as such, it is forbidden to try to make an advertising appear like news or any different format aside from advertisement. Other elements that can be used in any advertising are the Chinese flag, name of government organs or organization, violence, obscene content, terrorism, discrimination content or any other content that is considered to violate the law, become a threaten to citizens or to harm public interest.
So it is important that you follow the rules strictly in order to get the approval of your advertising. Contrary to other countries in the World advertising rules are very strict and if you don’t follow them you not only risk your advertising to be removed, but also you risk your company to get a fine or even risk your company’s business license to be revoked.