Hong Kong advertising spending increased 11 per cent in the first half of the year to $21.4 billion, thanks to strong marketing of female skin-care and health and fitness products, according to Nielsen Media Research. Spending on female skin-care advertising grew 48 per cent from the same period last year to $1.2 billion, the strongest growth among the top 10 advertising categories. Health and fitness recorded a 25 per cent increase to $774 million. 'The figure reflects that Hong Kong people are increasingly concerned about their health and personal grooming,' said Gayle Cunningham, executive director of Nielsen Media Research, Hong Kong and China. She expected the momentum to continue in the second half due to the seasonal factor and the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland, producing a 14 per cent increase in spending for the year. The first-half research revealed that a China brand entered the top 10 advertisers list. Sewame, a China-based skin-care range, was backed by advertising spending of about $173 million during the reported period, up 1.3 times from a year earlier. The brand was ranked third among the top advertisers. The top brand advertiser was snack food retail chain store Aji Ichiban, which spent $203 million in the first half, up 34.8 per cent from the previous year. Other big spenders included McDonald's, HSBC, Olay and Max Factor. 'China's individual travel scheme has changed the landscape of advertising spending in Hong Kong,' Ms Cunningham said. The increasing number of mainland visitors had prompted retail chain stores such as Aji Ichiban to boost their marketing budgets to raise short-term awareness of their brands among mainland tourists, she said. 'Moreover, Chinese brands are increasing their efforts to capture part of the local market,' she said. Newspapers captured the largest slice of the advertising revenue pie in the first half, recording an 11 per cent increase from a year earlier to $7.6 billion. Terrestrial television ranked second with $7.3 billion.