Financial brands lead in China

19 December 2012

BEIJING: China Mobile, the China Construction Bank and ICBC top the list of China's most valuable brands, a group increasingly dominated by financial services providers, a study by Interbrand has found.

The consultancy stated that China Mobile, the world's biggest telecoms company with 703m subscribers in October, retained the first position it occupied in 2011, as its net worth rose by 1% to RMB210.7bn.

The organisation has announced plans to roll out branded handsets, and is also seeking to enhance its smartphone user base, as pressure rises from rival operators China Telecom and China Unicom.

Second place in the rankings went to the China Construction Bank, one of 18 entrants in the top 50 drawn from the financial services industry. Its valuation leapt by 11% to RMB112bn.

ICBC, another bank, saw an 18% lift to RMB104bn. By contrast, China Life, the insurance provider, registered a 20% drop, partly reflecting declining revenues in its last six months of reported trading.

The Bank of China claimed fifth spot, and enjoyed an 8% expansion to RMB78.9bn. Ping An was one of few insurance groups to log increased figures, up by 16% to RMB69.5bn.

"Insurance and securities brands took big hits this year," Amy Edel-Vaughn, Interbrand's community manager, said. The weakness of the stock market and competition from banks are two issues here.

China Tapiping thus endured a 29% decrease in its value to RMB4.1bn and fell six spots to 34th place. China Merchant Securities was also down by 27% to RMB3.2bn, slipping from 30th to 38th position.

Li-Ning, the sportswear specialist, recorded the largest annual contraction, of 41% to RMB3bn. The firm has predicted it will make a "substantial loss" this year, and is now pursuing a turnaround plan.

"Over-expansion has caused channel partners' inventory to build up and their store productivity and profitability to decline," Jin-Goon Kim, executive vice chairman of the firm, said.

Shineway and 999, both from the pharma sector, fell out of the top 50, as did Yurun Food. All three groups have faced recent product safety scares, exerting a major impact on popular perceptions.

"With fierce competition between top brands, safety scandals and a slowing economy, it was a difficult year for many brands," said Edel-Vaughn.

More positively, Kweichow Moutai, the liquor brand, posted the biggest increase in value, up 33% to RMB39.2bn, according to the analysis.

Data sourced from Interbrand; additional content by Warc staff