UNITED States corporations are rushing to advertise on Chinese national television - a movement which will see the US$3 billion now spent annually on advertising increase by 50 per cent within a year. Michael Moore, worldwide media director of advertising agency DMB & B, said: ''It's a US$3 billion market and growing tremendously.'' US companies have been strongly represented in China for some time and their presence in mainland advertising is just as strong. Mr Moore, who has just spent a week on a tour of the Chinese television industry, said the potential for further development was great. ''We have grown so fast in China I felt it was time to come out here and see what's going on,'' the New York-based advertising executive said. DMB & B is the biggest advertising agency in US television, placing almost US$1.8 billion with both national and regional American television stations. Among its US television clients are Kraft General Foods, Proctor & Gamble and confection giant Mars. Mr Moore said he believed his agency was now the third-highest spender on television advertising in China - a position it wanted to consolidate. He said his firm's efforts in China benefitted from the remarkable similarity between the Chinese and US television markets. ''What we want to do is bring more of our understanding of television advertising to the region,'' he said. ''China's complex nature, means it can't be served by a single, national broadcaster. ''There's enormous growth potential there. It seems to be a culture which is business-orientated and very exciting.'' On his trip to China, Mr Moore visited CCTV, Beijing TV, Shanghai TV, Oriental TV, Guangdong TV, and ATV and TVB in Hong Kong. He said he had seen a surprising degree of sophistication in equipment, television programming and advertising. ''In China there are many dialects but Mandarin is making it a homogeneous advertising market,'' he said. Among the difficulties for foreign advertisers in China - problems that are quickly being solved - is the relative lack of rating information and the inability for most advertising agencies to monitor whether the advertising spots have been televised. DMB & B has moved to resolve the second problem by performing its own monitoring of Chinese TV, using sophisticated software in the process in the agency's offices. But despite these difficulties, the overriding attraction for US companies in China is the low cost of advertising compared with Hong Kong and overseas. ''The cost of advertising is maybe 100 times more expensive in Hong Kong. I think an advertiser would make a mistake if he saw Hong Kong as a surrogate market for China,'' Mr Moore said. Roger Winter, the managing director of DMB & B's Hong Kong office, said the television industry in China was dynamic and ever-changing. American corporations had the lion's share of advertising expenditure but this was changing. Japanese corporations, which were initially hesitant in taking part, were now rushing in. ''The China market, now at about US$3 billion, has doubled over the past couple of years. In 1992, the China market was larger than Hong Kong, now I think it's getting to be twice that size,'' Mr Winter said. Mr Moore said: ''The joint ventures with overseas companies coming in bring ways of doing business that are increasingly being accepted by the Chinese. There's going to be a flood of programming to China from all over the world.'' He said Beijing was encouraging an almost exponential growth of cable television because it felt it could control the medium far better than satellite television. But while the Chinese Government had officially banned satellite dishes, the authorities were turning a blind eye to existing dishes. ''By early next year, officials say Guangdong television will have the capacity to receive 60 cable networks,'' he said. Mr Moore said there was a big role for Hong Kong - and the territory's terrestrial stations - in the Chinese television revolution. ''The size and the wealth of Hong Kong would mean the territory would be a major feeder for China,'' he said.