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Tencent is China's most valuable brand

News, 28 January 2015

BEIJING: The brand value of internet service company Tencent has almost doubled in the past year, pushing it to the top of the 2015 BrandZ rankings.

The fifth BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands, produced by Millward Brown and based on financial analysis and consumer research, noted how brands from private enterprises had come to dominate in terms of value growth, rising 97% since 2013, while those from state-owned enterprises (SOEs) declined 9% over the same period.

In the past year alone, Tencent's value leapt 95% to reach $66.1bn, while that of online search engine Baidu, in fifth place, increased 55% to $30.1bn. Another online business, newly listed retailer Alibaba, entered the rankings for the first time, shooting into second place with a valuation of $59.7bn.

All three are market-driven, but five years ago the top five were all SOEs. A related development is the rapid growth of certain categories.

Tech companies, for example, have become brand powerhouses and generated a 78% increase in overall brand value, pushing the technology category past financial institutions as the highest value category ($106.9bn) and contributing 23% of the Top 100's total value.

Retail has also surged ahead with Alibaba's inclusion (+3,827%), but even after removing its contribution the category grew by 64% after a year of successful innovation by brands.

And the car category grew 141% in value after new entrant Great Wall enjoyed success with its SUV sales, according to Millward Brown.

Apart from telecoms business China Mobile, ranked third, the rest of the top ten most valuable Chinese brands were either financial institutions or oil and gas companies.

In the former category, ICBC led the way in fourth place, followed by China Construction Bank (6th), Agricultural Bank of China (8th) and Bank of China (10th). All four saw their valuations fall in the past year.

Of the two oil and gas brands, Sinopec (7th) had seen its valuation increase 18%, while that of PetroChina (9th) had fallen 11%.

Millward Brown also observed how the gap between Chinese brands and multinational brands in China has been narrowing: five years ago the two were 26 points apart on the BrandZ Brand Power Index, which measures a brand's competitive position in its category, while today their scores are almost identical.

"Consumers increasingly accept Chinese brands because they see them as meaningful and dynamic, not only because they're well-known," said Doreen Wang, Global Head of BrandZ, Millward Brown.

"The big question now is what brands must do to be accepted in international markets.

Data sourced from Millward Brown; additional content by Warc staff