BEIJING: Tencent, the technology giant that owns messaging app WeChat, has become the first Chinese brand to be valued at more than $100bn, according to a new study.
The latest BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands gave Tencent a brand value of $106bn, up 29% since 2016, although other technology brands featured strongly in the rankings.
Compiled by WPP's Kantar Millward Brown, the report noted that "technology brands continued to lead the way" in terms of brand value in the world's second-largest economy.
And along with education and travel agencies, technology helped drive up the overall value of Chinese brands by 6% to $557.1bn in a sign that the sectors enjoying the fastest growth have prospered from serving China's growing urban middle class.
Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, came second in the Kantar Millward Brown study after seeing its brand value increase 22% to $58bn compared to last year.
That meant Alibaba overtook China Mobile, the telecoms firm, which recorded a brand value of $57.9bn, a modest rise of 1% since 2016.
Technology firms Baidu (#5) and Huawei (#6) also made the BrandZ top 10 with brand values of $23.88bn and $20.38bn respectively, although Baidu's brand value dropped 11% over the past year.
Rounding out the top 10 were ICBC (#4), the financial services group, which had a brand value of $31.48bn, China Construction Bank (#7, $18.39bn), Insurer Ping An (#8, $16.46bn), liquor brand Moutai (#9, $16.21bn), and Agricultural Bank of China (#10, $14.84bn).
"China has come to terms with a new normal for its economy but there are still massive opportunities for strong distinct brands to address the aspirations of the rising urban middle class and drive superior value for shareholders," said David Roth, CEO EMEA and Asia, The Store, WPP.
"The strong brand value growth we have seen this year in the technology, travel and education sectors demonstrate that brands that clearly meet a defined consumer need will thrive," he added.
Among other highlights in the report came the observation that Chinese brands have continued to make strong inroads overseas with many technology brands, such as Lenovo, now generating much of their income from exports.
The report also noted that global perceptions about Chinese brands have been changing and this shift is expected to continue as Chinese brands seek to boost overseas growth via organic expansion, acquisition and marketing outside of China.
Data sourced from Kantar Millward Brown; additional content by Warc staff