ADVERTISING spending in China rocketed by more than 40 per cent last year to an estimated total of $1.93 billion, according to Lynda Graham, chief executive of Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising China. Ms Graham said strong growth in China compared with lacklustre figures for global growth. Spending grew by four per cent during 1993, she said, and adjusted for inflation that meant a shrinkage in real terms of 0.2 per cent. China's growth of 42.5 per cent was the world's highest followed by Thailand with 17.3 per cent growth. Spending in Hong Kong grew by 9.5 per cent, making it the world's ninth fastest growing market. ''I think that next year, Hong Kong will be knocked out of the top 10,'' Ms Graham said. Growth in Taiwan, which did not make the top 10 this year, was likely to eclipse the territory, she said. Ms Graham predicted that expenditure in China would continue to storm ahead and would top $3.3 billion by 1996. But Ms Graham said few, if any, international advertising agencies were making money in China. ''You are doing well if you are breaking even,'' she said. ''But you have to be in there now. I believe people will be making a lot of money in not many years from now.'' Much of the rise in spending came from massive rate increases by newspapers and television stations, she said. Prices rose by between 40 per cent and 100 per cent. The increases came against a pattern of shifting spending patterns. In China, outdoor billboards have traditionally had a huge share of the market. In 1989, billboards took 39 per cent of the market, now they take 30 per cent. Newspapers have shed three per cent of their market share to 27 per cent in the same period but television advertising has leaped from 18 per cent of total spending to 36 per cent. There were now almost 600 channels broadcasting or transmitting via cable in China, she said. But corruption was still rampant and Saatchi was frequently asked for bribes to ensure advertising space, she said. She said Saatchi had never paid a bribe and this had sometimes delayed an advert but had never meant the agency had been unable to buy space. ''If you pay a bribe once, you will be paying them for ever,'' she said.