Shanghai puts kibosh on new billboards

SHANGHAI — Citing too many billboards that are too densely placed, Shanghai has suspended all new outdoor advertising ahead of the 2010 World Expo, echoing earlier restrictions enacted in Beijing for the lead-up to the Olympics.

In a note posted on the city’s Web site Thursday, city spokesman Chen Qiwei called the billboards across China’s commercial capital “too indiscriminate.”

Shanghai stopped approval of ads April 22, the note said. Chen said that the decision, which came without warning, is temporary, while the city studies and formulates new management measures.

The development echoes regulations in Beijing in April 2007, made in anticipation of this August’s Olympics. Authorities there removed about 20,000 outdoor ads in what Liu Bin, an analyst with media consultancy BDA, called “a case showing Chinese government’s mandatory power in the media sector.”

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