BEIJING: Apple, McDonald's and Chanel are the brands generating the highest levels of online word of mouth among young, influential consumers in China.

GroupM, the media unit of WPP Group, and CIC, the consultancy, analysed 2,000 accounts on Sina Weibo, the microblog, taking in 1.2m posts, 20,539 tags and a combined 44m followers.

Apple, the electronics giant, secured the most buzz among this group, with a total of 13,213 mentions across the six months assessed, aided by huge interest in the iPad and iPhone.

McDonald's, the fast-food restaurant chain, claimed second position on 2,018, ahead of Chanel, the luxury brand, on 1,584, and KFC, the quick service operator, on 1,518.

Nokia, the telecoms group, logged 1,314 direct references, beating BMW, the automaker, with 1,260, Louis Vuitton, the premium goods company, on 964, and Nike, the sports specialist, on 928.

Sony, another electronics manufacturer, also featured in the top ten with a score of 865, just in front of HTC, the mobile phone company, recording a figure of 852.

Among the official brand accounts with the greatest traction on this platform were Durex, the condom range owned by Reckitt Benckiser, which had a reach of 2.95% within the panel of influencers.

Starbucks China, the coffee house chain, scored 2.9% on this measure, followed by adidas Originals, the sportswear line, on 2.75%. Chanel achieved 1.95% here.

The most popular subject matter for posts on Sina Weibo was music, taking a 29% share, ahead of astrology on 28%. Elsewhere, movies posted 13.5% and fashioned logged 12.6%.

Sports registered a 9.3% share of the conversation, an area where celebrities yielded 6.1%, shopping was on 6%, brands generated 2.8% and TV shows registered 2.6%.

Overall, the study suggested the young influentials assessed were ahead of the population as a while when it came to a "love" for buying new products, purchasing for wants rather than needs, enjoying shopping and preferring foreign brands.

Data sourced from Asia Media Journal; additional content by Warc staff