GLOBAL: Lenovo, the Beijing-based technology firm, is the Chinese brand that has made the biggest impact in international markets, according to a new report that highlights innovation as the key to the success of China’s leading brands.

Now in its second year, the latest BrandZ Top 50 Chinese Global Brand Builders report asserts that innovation is “in the DNA” of China’s top brands, which are helping to establish “Brand China” as innovative, cutting-edge and pioneering.

Produced by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown in collaboration with Google, the report identifies and ranks Chinese brands based on the strength of their brand across seven key developed markets – Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the UK and the US.

Each brand is then assigned a Brand Power score based on three elements – how “meaningful” they are, how “different” and how “salient”.

With a Brand Power score of 1,697, Lenovo tops the list for the second year in a row, although second-placed Huawei, another consumer electronics firm, saw its Brand Power score jump 22% to 1,530 since last year.

Other well-known Chinese brands to make the top ten include e-commerce giant Alibaba (1,101), Xiaomi (757) and Air China (730).

Overall, there are ten consumer electronics brands in the top 50, contributing about a third (34%) of the total Brand Power score.

And collectively, consumer electronics, mobile gaming and e-commerce, including online fast fashion, account for 61% of the brands that make up the top 50.

Commenting on the growing popularity of Chinese brands around the world, Doreen Wang, Global Head of BrandZ, Kantar Millward Brown, said: “Chinese brand builders aren’t just concerned with reaching a wider global audience, they are aiming to change customers’ perceptions too.

“Brands that succeed in China’s formidably competitive marketplace are not just out-gunning the competition in terms of innovation, they are deploying an equally powerful weapon – branding.”

That said, perceptions about Chinese brands appear to vary significantly across the seven markets surveyed, with British consumers reacting most positively while Japanese consumers are the least receptive.

Two-thirds (66%) of Japanese consumers say that knowing a brand comes from China would weaken their intention of purchasing it, compared to just 28% of British consumers.

However, Doreen Wang also noted that there is a trend for younger consumers to embrace Chinese brands. “While negative perceptions of some Chinese brands may persist among older generations of consumers, there is a shift in attitude among younger generations,” she said.

“Younger consumers are turning to brands such as Lenovo, Alibaba and because they are united by their love of cool, affordable products and services, regardless of their country of origin.”

Sourced from WPP, Kantar Millward Brown, Google; additional content by WARC staff