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China tech

Chinese companies slash advertising as COVID slowdown bites

Internet groups Tencent and Baidu rule out quick recovery in ad budgets

Tencent, operator of China's popular WeChat app, says its online advertising business fell 18% to 18 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) in the first quarter. (Screenshot from Tencent's website)

HONG KONG -- Chinese companies are slashing their online advertising as COVID-19 shutdowns hit consumer spending while a slowing economy dents hopes for a quick recovery.

Internet groups including Tencent and Baidu are warning that their digital advertising revenue tumbled in the first three months of the year and they don't expect the second quarter to be much better as companies respond to a drop in their own sales by cutting back on marketing budgets.

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