According to the sixth annual ranking announced by CBI member WPP and Millward Brown, the total value of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands rose 13% to US$525.6 billion in the last year despite China’s slowing economic growth. Tencent remains China’s most valuable brand, growing its brand value 24% to US$82.1 billion.
For the first time ever, market-driven brands – those that are owned by entrepreneurial companies – contribute more than half (51%) of the value of the China Top 100; evidence of China’s continuing transition to a market economy. These brands have taken full advantage of their freedom to innovate and generate value from technology.
The robust increase in brand value reflects the continued optimism of Chinese consumers, and their confidence in the possibility of realising the ‘Chinese Dream’. It also demonstrates how resilient strong brands are in times of economic turbulence: China’s GDP growth was 6.9% in 2015, down from 7.3% the previous year.
Tencent has held on to the top position through its successful ‘Connection’ strategy, which links users with content, services, and hardware that enhance their lives. It has monetized its social WeChat platform by partnering with JD.com to develop profitable new big data-backed marketing solutions, while TenPay is now China’s No. 2 online payment platform.
The highest new entries are CBI member Huawei (No.7; US$18.5 billion) and online retailer JD.com (No.15; US$9.4 billion). Huawei has a strong worldwide presence, and its smartphone business has been a powerful growth engine. JD.com, a challenger to Alibaba, has benefited from the expansion of its mobile offering, the worldwide extension of its ecommerce platform, and partnerships with premium international brands.
The BrandZ research also shows that Chinese brands are now as competitive as multinationals. They score more highly on two of the key factors that create competitive advantage – building brand awareness and connecting with consumers on both a functional and emotional level – but lag behind on differentiation. The increasing power of ‘home-grown’ brands may help to stem the current outflow of capital from China that is concerning economists.
The BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2016 are as follows:
- China Mobile
- China Construction Bank
- Agricultural Bank of China
- Ping An
- China Life
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