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Home > Compliance
China’s Market Regulator Reined in Internet Commercial Ads
By Henry Chen | 2021/12/4 23:12:50

China’s General Administration for Market Regulation (thereafter, GAMR) released a document titled ‘Administrative Measures on Internet Advertising - Draft for Public Comment’ (hereinafter as the ‘Measures’) in order to rein in Internet commercials with the potential of changing the dynamics of the online market. The Measures’ stated goal is to further improve the supervision system and promote sustainable and healthy development in the online advertising industry.

The relevant contents of the Measures have been adjusted in accordance with the relevant provisions of the E-commerce Law, the Anti-Unfair Competition Law, the Administrative Penalty Law and the Provisions of the Administrative Penal Procedure for Market Supervision. The adjusted contents have the ability to alter the current state of online economy.

The Measures consist of 31 articles, including the following major changes in online advertising:

Firstly, as for advertising labelling, the Measures require that Internet advertisements be identifiable enough for the consumers to identify as such. The promotion of commodities and services through the Internet in the form of bidding ranking, news reports, experience sharing, consumption assessment, or other forms of attached shopping links shall be clearly marked as "advertisements".

In addition, the Measures require that Internet commercials published in the form of start-play, video interstitials, pop-ups and other forms should be marked prominently to ensure one-click closure. The Measures prohibit the following practices: there is no closure sign or a countdown to close; the closure sign is fake and cannot be clearly identified or located; it will take more than one step to close the advertisement; commercials continue to pop up during browsing; other actions that contravene the one-click closure requirement.

Secondly the Measures also stipulate that users should not be deceived or misled to click on advertisements. If advertisers, advertising agents and advertising publishers act in contravention of this stipulation, market regulators at or above the county level will order the parties responsible to make corrections and impose a fine of not more than three times the illegal gains, but not exceeding 30,000 yuan; If there are no illegal gains, a fine of not more than 10,000 yuan shall be imposed.

Thirdly, for the purposes of regulating the content of advertisements, off-campus training advertisements for kindergarten, primary, and secondary school students should not be published on the Internet. If advertisers, advertising agents and advertising publishers use the Internet to publish such contents in their commercials, market regulators at or above the county level will order the parties responsible to make corrections and impose a fine of not more than three times the illegal gains, not exceeding 30,000 yuan; If there are no illegal gains, a fine of not more than 10,000 yuan shall be imposed. If there are no illegal gains, a fine under 10,000 yuan shall be imposed; if there are other laws or administrative regulations that better regulate the illegal acts in question, such provisions shall apply. Websites, web pages, Internet applications and other Internet media aimed at minors should not be used to publish advertisements on medical treatment, medicines, supplements, medical devices, cosmetics, alcohol, beauty and online games that may be harmful to the physical and mental health of minors.

Fourthly, the measure has provisions for what is called ‘live streaming commercials’, the measure made sweeping changes to this phenomenon. In circumstances where live streaming commercials contains advertisement, the live streaming service providers and live streamers are required to perform the same responsibilities and obligations as Internet advertising operators, advertising publishers or advertising spokespersons. They are not allowed to use live streaming services to advertise medical treatment, drugs, formula food for special medical purposes, medical devices or supplements. They also shall not advertise prescription drugs and tobacco through live streaming services. Special commodities or services such as medical treatment, drugs, formula baby food for special medical purposes, medical instruments, pesticides, veterinary drugs and supplements should all be examined by advertising examination institutions before being advertised, as required by relevant administrative regulations.

In response to the recent developments in online commercial activities and advertising practices, the Measure made sweeping changes by making provisions for areas such as ‘live streaming commercials’, cross-border e-commercial advertisements, one-click closure requirement for online advertisements, and commercial placements. These provisions, created with serious efforts to address societal concerns, signaled a major change in the business model of Internet platforms and created a new climate to which companies will need to adapt.


Licensed to practice law in China and the New York State of the US, the author, Henry Chen, is a senior partner of Dentons Shanghai Office.  Before joining Dentons, Henry was AP Compliance Director of Ford.  Henry's email is

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