ZURICH: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are the most valuable social media brands in the world, but rivals such as Qzone and Sina Weibo from China are also making impressive progress.

BV4, the agency, and HWZ, the university, assessed the leading social services in terms of estimated revenues, brand strength and their potential earnings in the next three years, a period chosen because of the "short life cycle" of many sites.

Facebook, which has over 800m members, was easily the most valuable player on $29.1bn, ahead of YouTube, Google's video-sharing platform, on $18.1bn, and Twitter, the microblog, on $13.3bn.

Two Chinese offerings followed. Qzone, Tencent's network and gaming site with more than 530m active users, was priced at $11.bn, while Sina Weibo, the microblog, was on $4bn.

Badoo, premised around meeting new people rather than linking with friends, was on $3.7bn. It thus bettered LinkedIn, the business-orientated network, on $3.6bn.

Tencent Weibo, another Chinese microblog, was also in the top ten on $3.5bn. Zynga, the gaming service, hit $3.1bn and Habbo, aimed at young consumers and based in Finland, was on just over $3bn.

Next came VKontakte, a Russian network, on $2.8bn and Renren, the Chinese site, on $2.6bn, demonstrating a strong showing for properties in emerging markets overall.

"Social media brands from emerging countries like China, Russia or Brazil can be expected to become increasingly significant in the future," said Max Meister, CEO of BV4.

More specifically, US sites were valued at a collective $82bn, in front of China on $28bn and Europe on $28bn.

The top 30 operators were estimated to be worth a combined $125bn, based on their reach, awareness levels and trust scores among users. The top ten contributed $92bn.

Manuel Nappo, head of the department of social media management at HWZ, said: "The more widespread a platform is and the more frequently it is used, the more attractive it gets from a commercial point of view."

Data sourced from BV4/Penn Olson; additional content by Warc staff