Advertising in China – what is allowed and what isn’t

Dirk Ziems

The trust in brands and products has been a big consumer issue in China since time immemorial. Over the years, the research of concept m has repeatedly confirmed this. The creation of trust is also the thinking behind the new national regulations for advertising which apply to all companies selling products or services in China. Here is an overview of what is allowed – and what isn’t:

No testimonials may be used for medications. The advertising is also not permitted to say that the medication is able to heal diseases. Statements which could deceive the consumers are regarded as unfair advertising. This refers to the use of superlatives (the best product, the most buyers, etc.) and other exaggerated vocabulary. However, claiming to be the second best is permitted.

Testimonials are not allowed to advertise for products they either do not know or do not use. To get around this condition, some superstars from the Middle Kingdom have recently been hired as “product managers” by the advertising companies.

Tobacco advertising is no longer permitted at all in public media.

Children who are younger than ten are not allowed to appear as testimonials (but they can be shown).

Pop-up advertising on websites must close with one click. If a second click is necessary, this constitutes a violation of the law.

This overview naturally represents only a general guide to draw attention to the fact that advertising and marketing in China are governed by their own rules. In every individual case, companies should cooperate as usual with a competent local partner and sound out whether the advertising conforms to the law. We will be happy to help you.

More information on the topic can be obtained on request from Thomas Ebenfeld, (thomas.ebenfeld@test.local) or Sami Wong (sami.wong@test.local).

Cover photo credits: Andrey Bayda /


Dirk Ziems
Dirk Ziems ist Experte für tiefenpsychologisches Marketing und berät auf Basis von Markt-, Medien- und Kulturforschung weltweit Unternehmen und Konzerne in zahlreichen Branchen und Ländern. Als Mitbegründer der Global Research Boutique Concept M und der Marketingberatung Flying Elephant begleitet er Themen wie die Adaption von Erfolgsprodukten in neuen kulturellen Kontexten, das tiefe Verständnis neuer Konsumgenerationen in China und USA, die Transformation der Werbekommunikation in der neuen digitalen Medienwelt oder die Neuorientierung der Brands in Post-Corona-Zeiten. Dirk Ziems ist auch als Gastdozent an verschiedenen Universitäten tätig.

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