Asia will lead the advertising industry out of its worldwide slump, media specialist Zenithmedia predicts. Zenithmedia Asian operations chief executive Antony Young said: 'Asia entered the advertising recession earlier than Europe or the United States but is now leading the recovery. We are cautiously confident of an advertising bounce back in most countries in the region later this year.' The Asia-Pacific accounts for 20.7 per cent of the international advertising market, with Japan taking 55 per cent of that. Zenithmedia forecasts advertising spending in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) will grow 7 per cent this year from a year earlier, driven by South Korea and China. The World Cup's immense popularity has already boosted South Korean advertising spending 18.7 per cent this year. Zenithmedia forecast advertising spending in Hong Kong would grow 6.2 per cent year on year from HK$29.6 billion last year to HK$30.49 billion this year but growth would slow to 4.9 per cent next year. Compared with projections six months ago, Asia and North America are having a slightly better year than expected but European countries have been downgraded because of a tougher market in the first quarter. Zenithmedia is predicting a year-on-year global spending contraction of 1.7 per cent, fractionally down from its previous forecast in December. A global recovery was not likely until next year, with estimated spending growth in real terms of 1.2 per cent. In US dollar terms, the world annual advertising market peaked at US$300 billion in 2000 but is expected to trough at US$277 billion this year.