The largest city on earth

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Situated in the upper reaches of the Yangtze river, Chongqing (pronounced "chong ching") is not only the largest city in China, the greater Chongqing municipality is the largest city in the world, with a population topping 30 million.

Most tourists know it as Chungking, the wartime capital of China until the Communists took over in 1949,  the starting point for Yangtze river cruises to the Three Gorges dam and the best spot to sample spicy Sichuan cuisine. But Chinese see it as a manufacturing powerhouse dominated by auto production centers, namely the Changan Ford factory.

“Everyone in Chongqing works for heavy industry, it’s the Detroit of China,” said Jeremy Sy, associate planning director at TBWA Worldwide in Beijing. “You really feel it’s size on the ground, it’s huge.”

Unsurprisingly for ‘blue collar’ town, Chongqing residents “are much more forthright than where I’m from,” said Shanghai native Edmund Li, group account director for Changan Ford at JWT, the only multinational agency with an office in Chongqing. Although the city is home to a handful of local ad agencies, “most just handle real estate clients. Overall, the advertising industry here is still in the primary stage.”

Mr. Sy agreed: “There is a big gap between what’s happening between the big three cities--Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou--and the rest of China. Consumers in Chongqing are cautious spenders, not very risky, and less ostentatious. They also appreciate their slower pace of life. They expect their lives to get better....but they are in no rush to get there.”

Since they are less hungry to be on the forefront of trends, they tend to spend less on consumer goods: “It’s not a matter of not having as much money, they just are not as concerned with showing off acquisitions of international or expensive brands and display value of such products,” he added.

Chongqing residents spend more time watching TV than other key cities, over three hours a day, according to Rita Chan, Shanghai-based director, Greater China for Nielsen Media Research Half of the ten most-advertised brands come from domestic manufacturers and four of them are health supplements.

Population: 31.44 million
GDP (2004): $32.11 billion (266.54 billion RMB)
Adspend (2004): $1.11 billion (9.23 billion RMB)
Adspend (2003): $0.87 billion (7.24 billion RMB)
Year-on-year increase*: 27.4%
Adspend as a percentage of GDP (2004): 2.7%
No. of TV households (2004): 830,000
Avg. min. viewed per day per viewer of all channels (aged 4+): 183.0
Basic cable subscription cost (per month): $1.45
*Based on published rate card

Average cost of 30” spot during prime time on Chongqing TV 2 - Variety, the city’s most-watched local channel (based on rate card value):

20:08-20:11 - $1,843
20:57-21:00 - $1,916
21:19-21:23 - $1,843

Top 10 advertising brands on TV (2004)*:
1. Oil of Olay - Skin Car /Soap
2. Gai Zhong Gai - Tonic/Vitamin
3. Rejoice - Hair Care /Soap
4. Crest - Toothpaste
5. Jiangzhong Pharm - Cough/Cold Prep
6. Huangjindadang - Tonic/Vitamin
7. Colgate - Toothpaste
8. Head & Shoulders - Hair Care
9. Naobaijin Pharm - Tonic/Vitamin
10. DHT Proportion Growth Hai - Pharmaceuticals
*Local channels only, based on rate card.

Top 10 advertising categories on TV (2004)*:
1. Tonic & Vitamin
2. Shampoo & Conditioner
3. Skin Care
4. Professional Service
5. Cough & Cold Prep
6. Toothpaste & Oral Hygiene
7. Stomach Medicine
8. Laundry Product
9. Toilet Soap / Liquid Soap
10. Chinese OTC
*Local channels only, based on rate card.

Top 5 Local Channels by Ad Revenue:
1. Chongqing Satellite TV
2. Chongqing TV 1 - Movie & Drama
3. Chongqing TV 2 - Variety
4. Chongqing TV 4 - City
5. Chongqing TV 5 - Entertainment

Sources: Nielsen Media Research & AGB Nielsen Media Research, China
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