May 17, 2023 | Spotlights

Spotlight: China

Discover the China digital out of home (DOOH) landscape, Hivestack’s market presence, scale and partnerships.

Discover the China digital out of home (DOOH) landscape, Hivestack’s market presence, scale and partnerships.

Introduction to the market: China

As the world's second-largest ad market after the United States, China, officially the People's Republic of China, has an impressive population exceeding 1.4 billion with 687 cities spanning 9.6 million square km. The Chinese City-Tier System is a classification that categorizes cities into 4 different tiers (with “1” being the highest and “4” the lowest) according to different factors such as GDP, income level, administrative level, and population. Understanding how these tiers work and the opportunities arising from each of them is of vital importance to both domestic and international marketers. 

While traditional printing and broadcasting advertising channels continue to shrink, outdoor and internet ads have been thriving, mainly driven by rapid technological advancement and a mobile-savvy population. In 2022, OOH ad spend in China reached $9.6BN USD with that figure expected to rise to $10.2BN USD by 2025. That said, the China ad market is unique and requires a strict code of conduct with heightened privacy and security legislation. Understanding the legislation is critical for business success in the region. 

“Transparency is at the heart of our business, and we’re delighted to be able to prove our dedication to the China market and our commitment to our clients and partners through vital compliance certifications. Our data compliance further strengthens the quality of work we pride ourselves on and we will continue to deliver a trusted and credible programmatic DOOH platform for our partners." - Aileen Ku, General Manager China at Hivestack

The DOOH Landscape 

Digitization has brought significant changes to the advertising landscape, including an overall reduction in advertising campaign cost through technological efficiencies that were once impossible offline in China. Open-source has also opened many doors for growth, allowing brands to reach their audiences in a more seamless fashion.

The current landscape for DOOH in China is mostly occupied by domestic players and most of them often operate in a traditional way  but with growing infrastructure to support programmatic DOOH transactions, what was once a tedious manual process has been transformed into a seamless holistic workflow. That being said, key to market success is to work with a partner that understands the unique nuances of the market and has firewall-compliant solutions. As indicated in the diagram below, Hivestack offers end-to-end solutions across the entire DOOH landscape.

Hivestack is pioneering for the future of the channel, with the ultimate goal to move the market towards an impression based buying model with open exchange buys to mirror its global marketplace.

The Opportunities

With a robust suite of products and solutions to service both buyers and publishers, Hivestack is perfectly positioned to drive growth for its clients. China is the largest OOH market in the world and our platform is integrated with 15 of the leading DOOH media owners covering over 1M screens across 92.9k sites with access to 91.9 billion impressions amongst a variety of valuable audiences and popular advertising seasons (i.e. 618 and Singles Day).


  • Urban residents

  • Luxury shoppers

  • Sporting fans

  • Commuters

  • IT professionals

  • Business and leisure travelers

Popular Advertising  Seasons

  • Lunar New Year (Jan)

  • Valentines Day (Feb)

  • 618 Shopping Festival (Jun)

  • Mid Autumn Festival (Sept)

  • Golden Week (Oct)

  • Singles Day (Nov)

  • Christmas (Dec)

DOOH screens are available to be activated programmatically in popular neighborhoods and locations mostly in  Tier 1 cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen) across China’s most prominent media owners including; Focus Media, Yongda, Asiaray,  Tulip Media, Miniview, Htrip, Bobocorn, Tikin Media, and ET Star.

Popular Locations

  • Jing’an Temple, Shanghai 

  • China World Trade Center, Beijing

  • Tianhe District, Guangzhou

  • Futian District, Shenzhen

Venue/Format Types

  • Airports

  • Apartment Buildings

  • Cinema

  • Billboards

  • Doctors offices

  • Hotels

  • Malls

  • Office Buildings

  • Subways

  • Taxis

  • Train Stations

“Looking towards the future, our global sales team and major partners will continue to work hard to promote outdoor media in China. I believe that more and more outdoor screens will become available to buyers via our platform in China. Together with the growing maturity of technology, we will see accelerated growth in outdoor advertising budgets.” - Troy Yang, Managing Director of North Asia


Privacy-compliant trade is of utmost importance so working with a reputable partner who has the correct certification in place is key because despite the legislation, the booming Chinese economy presents compelling growth opportunities for the entire advertising industry. Working with a reputable partner that understands these local nuances, has strong roots and products that are custom-made for the China market is paramount.  

With its firewall-compliant technology, Hivestack is well-equipped to support continued growth and innovation of the channel. Having built its proprietary technology behind China’s Great Firewall not only means it is possible for domestic brands to reach domestic audiences, but also that Chinese brands can now extend their reach further, targeting international audiences all over the world. Vice versa the same is true, the technology allows international brands to target those hard-to-reach Chinese audiences which would otherwise prove impossible without firewall-compliant solutions.