BEIJING: China Mobile and ICBC continue to be the most valuable Chinese brands, according to the annual BrandZ rankings, which also indicate the growing consumer orientation of the Chinese economy.
The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands study, commissioned by WPP, the agency holding company, and undertaken by Millward Brown, the market research company, found that market-driven brands, or private companies without government backing, in the Top 50 of the ranking enjoyed value growth of 27%, which was three times that of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) at 9%.
That said, eight of the top ten brands were SOEs, including the leading two. For the fourth year in a row, telecoms business China Mobile was the nation's most valuable brand, with a value of $61.4bn, up 21% on 2013. It was followed by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which recorded a 2% fall in value to $39.7bn.
In third place was the leading market-driven brand. Tencent, the internet business, leapt 68% in value to $33.9bn. Web services company Baidu was the only other market-driven brand in the top ten, and it saw its value dip 12% to $20m.
Financial institutions, oil and gas and insurance companies dominated the top ten brands. Drinks company Moutai fell out of this group with a 19% decline in value following a crackdown on government hospitality spending.
Overall, brand value increased in 11 categories, led by travel agency, up 98%. This was followed by health care (67%), food and dairy (62%), home appliances (36%), technology (28%), apparel (21%), telecom providers (17%), insurance (11%), airlines (9%) and financial institutions (7%).
Millward Brown noted that an expansion of the ranking from 50 to 100 brands had resulted in brands in eight new categories entering the ranking. The presence of cars, catering, education, furniture, hotels, jewellery retailers, personal care and real estate was, it said, a reflection of consumers' increasing purchasing power and changing shopping habits.
Several brands were singled out for attention, including one of the top risers, dairy brand Yili which had grown 86% in value. This was in part due to a policy of rebuilding consumer trust with an 'open factory' campaign, allowing both public and media to see production processes.
A similar strategy had helped another diary business Mengniu turn around a 31% decrease in value last year into 30% rise this year.
Beer brands Tsingtao Beer, Snow Beer and Harbin Beer all succeeded in bucking the downward trend in the alcohol category, achieving double-digit value growth thanks to creative interactions with consumers.
Doreen Wang, Head of Branding at Millward Brown China, said: "Strong, market-driven brands that focus on understanding consumers' needs and continuous brand building grow their value faster."
Wang also advised Chinese brands to invest in delivering the attributes of relevance, salience and meaningful difference "through developing an emotional bond with consumers, being ready to meet emerging needs and becoming more market oriented".
Data sourced from Millward Brown; additional content by Warc staff