China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce has issued new regulations governing email advertising, paid search results and embedded links, as well as images and videos that advertise goods or services.
The new regulations, which enter into force on 1 September 2016, provide regulatory guidelines to protect against false or misleading practices. They also forbid online advertisements for prescription medication and tobacco, and require prior government approval for advertisements for medical supplies, pesticides, veterinary medicine and other health products. Moreover, according to the new regulations, advertisers who know about illegal advertisement contents, should delete them or stop their display. Additionally, the new regulations include a requirement that all paid advertising be clearly discovered in search results, and that search companies restrict ad results to 30% of each search results page.
Those who fail to comply with the regulations or do not provide proper means for consumers to close online advertising content could face a penalty between 5,000 Yuan ($748) and 30,000 Yuan ($5,000) for each breach.
The regulations have made it clear that China now considers all pay-for-performance searches as advertising. With this wider definition of online advertising, the new regulations will have an effect on search engines, e-commerce and social networking websites, where paid advertisements and marketing emails are commonly accepted practices.