China's brand challenge

Adrian Gonzalez, Jason Spencer and Sirius Wang
Millward Brown

Chinese brands must work hard to improve differentiation and overseas recognition if they are to take on the multinationals, BrandZ data shows.

Ten years ago, China joined the World Trade Organisation, and some observers say one hundred years' worth of societal and economic transformation has occurred since. Millions of Chinese citizens have evolved into consumers, and China's contribution to the world economy is now universally acknowledged.

Chinese brands have evolved too. The 2012 BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Chinese Brands ranking was published in December 2011 by WPP and Millward Brown. Six of the brands in the ranking, collectively worth $50 billion, didn't exist 10 years ago. In the 2011 global ranking, the BrandZ Top 100, 12 of the top 100 brands are from China.

But it is not all smooth sailing for Chinese brands. They not only encounter competition from multinational brands on the domestic front, but also face challenges in launching themselves overseas.