Editorial: China's recession looks lucrative to UK agencies

If only we could all have a recession like the one taking place in China, whose capital, Beijing, has just hosted a forum organised by the IPA and the Advertising Producers Association.

Aegis Media recently predicted a 4.6 per cent growth in the country's 2009 adspend. This is well below the 18.9 per cent recorded last year. But it's still a figure that the ad industry of any Western country would kill for.

With an economy being fuelled by a burgeoning middle class, China will surely soon usurp the US as the world's largest advertising market.

Can Britain's agencies and production companies turn the country's incredible growth rate to its advantage? Almost certainly, yes. Indeed, a forum the APA organised in Shanghai in November 2007 resulted in more than £5 million-worth of business from China going to UK production companies and post-production houses.

Meanwhile, as Chinese conglomerates such as Lenovo, the PC manufacturer, and Chery, the car-maker, start shedding their "cheap and cheerful" images to become significant international players, UK agencies have a unique opportunity to help them realise their global ambitions.

This can't happen overnight. Advertising forums can merely lay the foundations. It's only by regular personal contact that lasting relationships can be built. And you can bet that, when it comes to wooing China, Madison Avenue won't let London roll it over.