Calendar posters were popular in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai in the early 20th Century when China opened its door to foreign merchants. The Chinese used to hang calendars at home, making them a home necessity. Recognizing the advertising potential of calendar posters with both aesthetic value and practical function, foreign merchants produced a diversity of colorful calendar posters with lithographic printing technique. The calendar posters were then given to customers as free gifts, and were highly appreciated. Nanyang Brothers Tobacco, A.S. Watson, Bit Tak Sing Pharmacy, Ruttonjee Company and many companies in Guangzhou and Hong Kong followed suit and designed many calendar posters during the Chinese New Year as gifts and vehicles of promotion.

Most calendar posters featured the image of a young beauty while others featured historical stories, folklore and modern life. Products, company names or
trademarks were usually placed at the bottom or the sides. Calendar posters were printed on poster-size paper before World War II with the calendar placed at the bottom or on the back. Some companies also printed their company history on the calendar posters. Calendar posters after the War were printed on metal plates with the calendar hung below. Calendar posters are vividly artistic, and brings together Chinese and western styles of painting through utilizing traditional Chinese painting techniques, the calendar poster form, and western styles of lineal drawing and watercolor.
Some famous Hong Kong artists such as Gao Jian-fu, Gao Qi-feng, Zheng Nu-quan, He Jian-shi and He Jian-shi were also commissioned to design calendar posters. However, the manufacturing of calendar posters stopped along with other commercial activities during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. They were gradually replaced by other form of advertisements after the war.