China's big three tighten hold on programmatic spend: eMarketer

Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent combined take up the largest share of programmatic digital display spending in China.

China's big three tighten hold on programmatic spend: eMarketer

Mobile will account for 83.7% of the total programmatic spend, which is estimated to $22.81 billion in China this year, according to the latest forecast released by eMarketer.

Unsurprisingly, the so-called BAT giants—Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent—will consume the lion’s share of programmatic expenditures. The report noted that high smartphone penetration in China will continue to drive programmatic spend, while programmatic expenditure is expected to reach $29.61 billion (69% of total digital display ad spend) in 2019.

Shelleen Shum, senior forecasting analyst, said eMarketer raised its estimates on programmatic spend based on the growing influence of the BAT firms. “While over 60% of digital advertising spend already goes to BAT, their influence on the programmatic market is even more dramatic," said Shum. "Despite the relatively sophisticated ad buying technology on the BAT platforms, the players outside the big three remain few and undeveloped.”

The outsized influence of the giants, however, stymies the growth of a competitive ad-tech ecosytem, putting China's programmatic market behind US and the UK, Shum added. 

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