- Last week, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce issued new rules governing email advertising, paid search results and embedded links, and images and videos that advertise goods or services, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- The guidelines target false and misleading claims in online advertising for prescription medicine and tobacco. The rules require government approval to run ads for health products, medical supplies, veterinary medicine and pesticides.
- The new rules are an effort to gain some measure of control over online promotions and will go into effect in September.
China's fast-growing economy has led many brands to market their products in the country, but that doesn't come without its own unique set of challenges, including adhering to China's new internet advertising rules.
Even though China has been historically very heavy-handed in regulating the internet (such as its infamous “great firewall"), the new rules were prompted by the death of a college student who treated a rare form of cancer with a treatment found via an ad on Baidu, China’s main search engine.
“Before this, there was no law that defined exactly what an internet ad was, and the regulations were a bit piecemeal,” Eugene Low, a partner at the Hong Kong office of law firm Hogan Lovells, told the Wall Street Journal.
Built into the new rules is a requirement that paid ads must be clearly marked. Search engines will also have to limit ad results to 30% of the SERP (search engine response page). eMarketer expects digital ad spending to hit more than $40 billion in China this year. The rules will impact Baidu, Google, Bing and other search providers, but it will also impact marketers looking to reach the Chinese marketplace, tightening restrictions on ads.