Mobile advertising in China is forecast to increase 275 per cent this year to more than $7 billion. That growth is expected slow to a more modest level of 80 per cent in 2015, when mobile ad spending will reach $12.8 billion, according to eMarketer.

The surge in mobile ads has been driven by the hyper growth in smartphones over the past couple of years. Analytics firm Umeng estimated that the country had 700 million active smartphone users last year.

Gartner expects 90 per cent of mobile handset sales this year to be smartphones, with penetration on track to hit 95 per cent by the end of the year. With the research firm estimating sales reaching 444 million this year, the milestone of one billion smartphone users can’t be far off.

eMarketer said mobile ads will account for about 30 per cent of all digital ad spending in the country. That’s up from about 12 per cent last year.

The company predicts that mobile ads, which include messaging-based formats, will increase tenfold to $85 billion by 2018, when mobile will account for 62 per cent of digital ad spending.

Digital ads will represent just over a third of all paid media spending this year, with mobile making up 11 per cent of the total. Mobile is forecast to jump to a third of all ad spending in China by 2018.

China will rank number two worldwide after the US, where mobile ad spending will be about three times larger this year than in China.