Online advertising about to explode in China, says iResearch

Given the size of the Chinese market, it should come as no surprise that online advertising is expected to explode there in the next four years.

Research firm iResearch, in fact, is putting a number on it, predicting that Chinese online advertisement spending will quadruple in the next four years, keeping pace with user-advertiser numbers.

"After experiencing high growth rates over a decade, online advertising has entered into a more mature period seen from the perspective of both the media and advertising form," iResearch said in a story reported by Warc.

Broken down by categories, paid search rose from 33.5 percent to 34 percent of subscriber returns in 2012, followed by e-commerce, which climbed from 17.5 percent to 23.3 percent year-over-year and could pass paid search in 2013, the research said. Online video also went up 0.6 percent to 7.7 percent.

Search giant Baidu led the way in advertising sales last year and is pushing into the mobile space to tap about 80 million more subscribers.

"There is still a lot of work that we need to do to make that a better channel for our advertisers and customers," Baidu CEO Robin Li said. "As our ROI improves for our customers, they will allocate more budget to the mobile advertising space."

In third place is the omnipresent Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), which maintained a position even after censorship worries caused it to begin redirecting Chinese search users to its Hong Kong site in 2010.

"We wanted to make sure that users are able to have unfettered access to our products," said Nikesh Arora, Google's chief business officer, who said Google even has a "small revenue business" in China.

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