The Surprising Facts That Drive The Chinese Magazine Industry

If you thought the September issues you’re going to be buying in a few weeks would have an insane number of ad pages in them, think again.

Advertising in Chinese magazines has exploded in recent years, so much so that many fashion books are deciding to publish more than once a month to accomodate all the ad space, the New York Times says. Chinese Cosmopolitan and Elle have begun publishing twice a month because issues can be up to 700 pages, and Vogue China has added four extra issues per year to make sure all the ads make it in.

The reason for this is, quite simply, Chinese women have an insatiable thirst for luxury. The Times cites some very interesting statistics:

“…the typical reader of Hearst Magazines in China is a 29.5-year-old woman who is more likely to be single than married. She has an average income of about $1,431 a month and spends $938 a season on luxury watches, $982 on handbags and shoes and $1,066 on clothes.”

Their spending is made possible by the fact that many of them are only children living at home with parents and grandparents that pay their expenses, so most of their income is disposable. When you consider those facts, it’s no wonder that advertisers want to tap into the Chinese market.

But with great benefit comes great risk. All Chinese magazines are owned by the government, and therefore subject to censorship. It can also be difficult to get any consensus on circulation data; unlike the U.S., China doesn’t have any form of independent auditing system.

[NY Times]

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