Companies will spend US$2.25 billion to advertise in the upcoming year on CCTV, China’s only national-level television network, suggesting that they anticipate the country’s consumers will continue spending despite economic turmoil abroad, The Wall Street Journal reported. Almost 250 companies participated in the annual action, which is similar to US broadcast networks’ “upfront” ad sale events. This year’s sales were higher than the US$2 billion the auction raised last year. Internet retailers like 360buy.com and Alibaba Group (listed subsidiary Alibaba.com; 1688.HKG) were the fastest-growing advertisers, spending 7.7% more this year than last, according to a report by ad agency Charm Communications (CHRM.NASDAQ). By contrast, the rate of growth in spending by foreign companies generally slowed. The auction is considered a key measure of domestic consumption. Retail sales in China rose 17% in the first nine months of the year, based on the same period a year before.