BEIJING: China Mobile, the telecoms giant, is the "most engaging brand" in China, a new study by consultancy R3 has revealed.
The company surveyed over 1,500 consumers, and reported that China Mobile beat out Apple and Nokia for the top spot during Q1 2011, with Nike and KFC rounding out the top five.
China Mobile had also claimed first position in the previous rankings, from Q4 2010. Over the same period, Apple moved from fourth to second, Nokia from second to third and Nike from third to fourth.
Li-Ning, the domestic sportswear firm, was previously ranked fifth, but fell to eighth place.
More broadly, only 19 of the top 50 brands on the engagement rankings were Chinese, suggesting many global firms are gaining the trust of aspirational consumers in the world's most populous nation.
But Chinese operators dominated a separate list of the companies which had the best CSR programmes, taking up eight of the top ten spots.
Sunny Chen, an R3 consultant, said: "International brands are more successful at connecting with the local consumer."
"Local companies ... now need to make the bigger leap to brand preference and broader brand values."
R3's analysis also suggests that brands scoring highly on the engagement rankings tend to have a well-established social media presence.
Endorsements from local celebrities could be a successful way for international brands to build engagement in the future, with R3 suggesting that around half of the nation's social media users follow a celebrity at present.
Athlete Liu Xiang (15.6m fans) and actress Yao Chen (8m fans) are currently two of the most popular stars on networks such as Sina Weibo.
Data sourced from R3; additional content by Warc staff