May 19, 2015, New York – Responding to changes in the
marketplace and the increasing importance of the internet to
advertisers, China recently enacted its first major changes to its
advertising laws in twenty years. The updates to the law address a
wide range of topics, including online advertising, health claims,
celebrity endorsers, and false advertising. The changes, which were
passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's
Congress, will take effect on September 1, 2015.
"The new adverting law is a much-needed update to the
outdated existing rules," said Justina Zhang, GALA's China
member and a Partner at TransAsia Lawyers in Beijing.
"Although there are a variety of new rules that some industry
participants may find limiting, we expect that most advertisers
will welcome the greater consistency and predictability that should
result from both the new advertising law and the various
implementing rules and guidance that will inevitably follow in the
coming months and years."
Some of the highlights of the changes include:
The law now explicitly covers online advertising;
Telecommunication, internet service providers, and websites have
obligations to remove advertisements that they know or should have
known are illegal;
Dietary supplement advertising must not imply that products are
"necessary" for good health;
Baby formula advertisements cannot claim to replace breast milk,
even in part;
Limitations on the use of advertorial type content to present
Prohibitions on the use of endorsers in many types of
Broadening of the definition of "advertising" and
Restrictions on children's advertising; and
Restrictions on tobacco advertising.
The new law also makes celebrity endorsers liable for certain
consumer claims and encourages the industry to engage in
"China's changes to its advertising laws will have
significant impact on advertisers," said Jeffrey A. Greenbaum,
GALA Chairman and Managing Partner at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein &
Selz in New York. "As advertisers continue to look to China as
an increasingly important market, it's critical that they plan
ahead to ensure that their advertising complies with these new
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