LONDON: Apple is once again the world's most valuable brand, as the latest BrandZ rankings show the tech giant resuming the top spot, well ahead of rivals like Google and Microsoft.

The Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report and rankings, produced by WPP and Millward Brown, uses the views of potential and current buyers of a brand, alongside financial data, to calculate brand value.

The launch of the iPhone 6 has been instrumental in boosting Apple's brand value by an extraordinary 67% in the course of one year to reach $246,992m.

"Apple continues to 'own' its category by innovating and leading the curve in a way that generates real benefits for consumers," said Doreen Wang, Millward Brown's Global Head of BrandZ.

"It meets their rational and emotional needs, and makes life easier in a fun and relevant way," she added. "Apple is clear on what it stands for, and never stops refreshing its message to sustain the difference that makes it so desirable."

Behind Apple, tech brands occupied the next three slots. In second place, Google's brand value increased 9% to $173,652m; Microsoft was third, rising 28% to $115,500m; and IBM was fourth, its value declining 13% to $93,987m.

Technology was in fact the fastest-growing category, up 24% in the last year: tech brands in the Top 100 were worth more than $1 trillion, nearly a third of the value of all brands in the ranking.

The fastest-growing individual brand also came from these ranks, as Facebook registered a 99% advance in brand value.

BrandZ also noted a shift from West to East as the number of Chinese brands in the Top 100 had risen to 14 over the past decade, with a corresponding decline in the number originating in Western Europe.

One example of a Chinese brand making waves was Alibaba, as the ecommerce business was valued at $66.4bn, higher than Amazon or Walmart.

Overall the total brand value of the Top 100 had risen 126% over the past ten years, despite the disruption caused by the global financial crisis. This, suggested David Roth, CEO of WPP EMEA and Asia, was proof that investing in the creation of strong, valuable brands delivered superior returns to shareholders.

"This is a pivotal moment for brand builders," he declared. "We're at the threshold of a new normal, and a changing consumer."

Data sourced from BrandZ; additional content by Warc staff