Private brands gain in China

24 July 2013
SHANGHAI: Private companies have seen their brand value increase and now outnumber state-owned enterprises in the latest survey of the 200 most valuable Chinese brands.

The Hurun brand list, compiled annually by the Hurun Research Institute since 2007, includes 98 privately owned companies with an average brand value of 6.97bn yuan ($1.13bn) as well as 94 state-owned organisations, such as China National Petroleum Corporation.

Highlights from the report include information that Baidu, the web services company, topped the list of the most valuable private sector brands with a valuation of 106bn yuan. It has won the title for three years in a row.

Internet service giant Tencent Holdings was ranked second among private sector concerns with a valuation of 88bn yuan and Ping An Insurance of China came third with a value of 69bn yuan.

Meanwhile, Vancl, the privately owned online clothing retailer, witnessed its brand value increase threefold to 4.6bn yuan, the most rapid growth amongst all shortlisted brands.

State-owned China Mobile topped the complete list with a brand valued at 251bn yuan ($30.9bn) and it has now topped the table for six out of the last seven years. However, its brand value was 9% less than in 2011.

Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun report, observed that effective branding is key for any company whether they are private or state-owned. "The top brands usually communicate efficiently with customers on new media platforms using innovative campaigns," he said.

Although the value of Chinese brands is increasing slower than Hoogewerf expected, he said he recognised that Chinese companies have been investing more in brand-building in recent years and have also "come up with a lot of innovations, including the use of new media".

However, Jason Cieslak, president of Siegel Gale Pacific Rim, the strategic branding company, urged Chinese brands to be more bold if they want to be recognised more on the world stage. He told China Daily they should "make the tough decisions about legacy names, sub-brands, messaging and thinking" and to think about design as a strategic tool.

Data sourced from People’s Daily Online, China Herald, China Daily Asia; additional content by Warc staff
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