Symbolizing the rise and rise of communist China as the globe's upcoming economic leader, its top cellphone company China Mobile is now ranked world number four brand by dollar value after Microsoft, General Electric and Coca-Cola of the USA.

The latest rankings in the annual BrandZ Top 100 survey by Millward Brown Optimor, the specialist financial and ROI arm of WPP Group, also identify Europe as world leader in luxury brands, citing names such as Mercedes, Porsche, Chanel and Cartier.

The Top Ten, ranked in $ millions are:

  1. Microsoft Corporation ($62,039)
  2. GE ($55,834)
  3. Coca-Cola ($41.406)
  4. China Mobile ($39,168)
  5. Marlboro cigarettes ($38,510)
  6. Wal-Mart ($37,567)
  7. Google ($37,445)
  8. IBM ($38,084)
  9. Citigroup ($31.028)
  10. Toyota ($30,201)
Retail brands are becoming a more important factor in driving consumer shopping behaviour. Many retailers show strong brand contributions, which in some cases are higher than those of the products they sell.

This, MBO argues, proves that shopping is a "branded" experience, citing Wal-Mart (ranked 6), Tesco (30), eBay (38), and Amazon (78). Such rankings confer power on retailers to exert pressure on suppliers of branded products.

Comments MBO's lead researcher on the study, executive director Andy Farr: "This is the first study that goes beyond financial data and 'expert opinion' to include in-market insights about a brand's strengths and momentum from potential customers."

The BrandZ study, conducted annually by MBO, measures the brand equity of more than 30,000 global 'consumer-facing' brands, and interviews 650,000 consumers globally. Consumer perception of a brand is a key input in determining brand value because brands are a combination of business performance, product delivery, clarity of positioning, and leadership

Data sourced from Millward Brown Optimor (UK); additional content by WARC staff