China's New Ad Requirements To Take Effect In May

Marketers considering advertising in China may want to know about the censorships being put in place. The rules would affect any companies advertising on publishers' sites, ecommerce sites, marketplaces and search engines like Baidu.

China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) recently issued new measures for the Administration of Internet Advertising that will take effect on May 1, 2023.

The new measures replace the Interim Measures for the Administration of Internet Advertising previously issued in 2016.

Identifiable requirements have been heightened. The PRC Advertising Law's identifiability requires that people must be able to identify online advertising.

To ensure that customers can distinguish paid web-rank advertising apart from organic search results, for instance, an indication like "advertisement" must be put in a conspicuous area, similar to what is done in the United States on Google Search or Bing Search, as well as sponsored advertisements across the web and on publisher sites.



Products or services are advertised through knowledge introduction, experience sharing, or consumption feedback and have a "buy" link or other method of payment, an indication must also be posted in a conspicuous location to ensure that customers can tell it is an advertisement.

The measures are intended to improve regulatory oversight, explain the roles of important businesses, and further refine the do’s and don'ts for online advertising for the country.

The changes are expected to have important implications on social -media marketing and internet advertising for businesses across a range of industries. They also aim to clarify requirements “that the online advertising subject to censorship be published strictly in accordance with the contents as approved by the censorship authority and not edited, spliced, or modified. If it is necessary to alter any content in the advertising that has been reviewed and approved, the advertiser shall resubmit the revised advertising to the authority for a new review and approval.”

The measures define the censorship requirements under the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) Advertising Law for online advertising for certain categories of products.

The advertising for the following products must be reviewed and approved by a competent advertising censorship authority before publication:

  • medical treatment
  • drugs
  • medical devices
  • pesticides
  • veterinary drugs
  • health food
  • formula food for special medical purposes
  • other advertisements that are subject to censorship as required by other laws and administrative regulations.

The measures also are being put in place for pop-up, streaming, and open-screen advertising, such as making false promises or setting false signs of playing suspending or software updates. Reporting also is requires. Advertisers must create and maintain archives for their own internet-published ads.

The records for advertising must be updated on a regular basis and must be retained for at least three years after the advertisement has stopped being published.

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