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2021 Update to Advertising law

Chinese talk show host/actor/comedian Li Dan was fined 8.7 billion for improper use of words. Li Dan wrote in the ad copy: "A device that allows women to easily lie down and win the workplace."

Because of this slogan, Li Dan was supervised by Beijing Haidian Market to comment on it as a “typical case of illegal advertising”. The reason is that this advertisement copy is suspected of discriminating against women. According to Article 9(7) of the Advertising Law, advertisements that violate "good social customs" shall not be published. In addition, Article 38 of the Advertising Law stipulates that it is not allowed to recommend or certify unused products or unreceived services. Because Li Dan cannot use feminine products, he cannot advertise for women’s underwear.

Chinese Advertising Law is very strict and no one can cross the red line, and every marketer/advertiser should pay attention to it. Following the revision in 2018, the Advertising Law was revised again in April 2021. This revision was also considered by the advertising circle as "the most stringent revision in history". The following is a summary of the content:

  • Higher fines & expanded scope - The new advertising law stipulates that the penalty for extreme language is a fine of 200,000 yuan, such as: national, world, highest, best, largest, first, etc. In addition, vocabulary with superstitious or sexual references is not acceptable.

  • KOL/Spokesperson responsibility - Previously advertising laws & responsibilities only applied to advertisers, advertising operators, and advertisement publishers, under the new law advertising spokesperson will also be held legally responsible for the content of the advertisement. Advertising spokespersons recommending and certifying products and services in advertisements shall be based on facts and comply with the provisions of this law and relevant laws and administrative regulations, and shall not recommend or certify products or services they have not received or used. In addition, minors under the age of 10 are not allowed to become advertising spokespersons.

  • Protecting Minors - The new advertising law focuses on the protection of minors. For example, it is forbidden to send any form of tobacco advertisements to minors, and online game advertisements that are not conducive to the physical and mental health of minors may not be published in the mass media for minors. In addition, advertisements for goods or services targeted at minors under the age of fourteen must not contain the following content: persuade them to ask parents to purchase the advertised goods or services; it may cause them to imitate unsafe behaviours.

  • Industry-Specific - Specifial mention for the following industry along with new requirements are included in the law, talk to us to understand more for these industries -

    • Medical, pharmaceuticals, and medical device

    • Health food

    • Alcohol

    • Education & Training

    • Real Estate

    • Finance & Banking

There are many amendments to the advertising law in this revision. Brands should be familiar with the new advertising law before making an advertisement, and marketers should also be familiar with the relevant laws to ensure that customers’ advertisements are legal or remind advertisers to make changes to avoid accidentally breaking the law.

Read about our previous coverage on advertising censorship law.

Download the latest Advertising Law (in Chinese)!

To be compliant with the latest laws and ensure safe advertising in China, contact us.

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