Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent remain China's dominant ad players with 60% market share

China's digital ad market is set for growth despite the country's economic slowdown / Unsplash

Alibaba is the largest digital ad seller in China with its advertising revenues set to account for more than 32% of the market this year, according to eMarketer.

Digital ad spend in China is predicted to grow 22% in 2019 to reach $79.82bn, and will account for 69.5% of paid media advertising this year.

Alibaba’s net digital advertising revenues, which include the e-commerce giant’s core platforms such as Tmall and Taobao, as well as video streaming site Youku Tudou, are more than double the revenues of its rivals Baidu and Tencent.

Baidu’s digital ad revenues have steadily declined in recent years as the company shifts away from its search advertising business to focus on AI technology. Baidu’s revenues are forecast to reach 15.4% market share in 2019, down from 17.3% in 2017. This downward projection is expected to continue into 2021 when Baidu is forecast to hold a 14.8% share of the total digital ad market.

Baidu’s online entertainment company iQiyi’s share of digital ad revenues remains stable at 1.5%.

However, as Baidu drops and Alibaba remains stable over the next two years – eMarketer forecasts a dip to 32.5% of market share in 2021 - Tencent is on the rise. The gaming and entertainment giant is forecast to secure a 12.7% share this year, increasing to 14.3% in 2021.

While the big three ‘BAT’ companies continue to dominate the market occupying more than 60% of the total digital advertising market, the rise of other niche companies such as ByteDance, which owns short video app Douyin (TikTok), e-commerce giant JD.com, Meituan and Xiaomi are drawing advertising revenues away from BAT.

eMarketer predicts China’s total media ad spending will increase by 14.6% in 2019, despite the country’s economic slowdown.

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