TECHNOLOGY

The most valuable brand in China is…

BY Marianne Wilson

An online giant has taken the top spot for the first time in an annual ranking of brands in China.

Alibaba was named the most valuable brand in China in the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands ranking, published by WPP and Kantar. The company grew its brand value by 59% year-on-year to $141 billion.

Despite China’s slower economic growth and international trade tensions, the total value of the brands listed in the ranking increased 30% to $889.7 billion, the highest annual rise since the ranking launched in the year 2011. The growth has been driven as brands accelerate their expansion into China’s lower-tier cities, which have seen rapid development and rising consumer buying power, and increasingly positive attitudes to Chinese consumer brands with a global presence.

Alibaba’s brand value has grown 136% over the past five years in BrandZ’s report outperforming the Top 100 overall which increased 92% over the same period. Since first appearing in the ranking in 2015 following its IPO, Alibaba’s rise to the number one spot in 2019 reflects the growth of a brand which has contributed to transformational changes in the Chinese market.

Here are the top 10 brands in the Brandee’s 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands ranking:


There is vast potential for further brand growth overseas as China moves beyond the industrial focus of its Belt and Road initiative towards establishing leadership in areas including AI, robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and green energy. One such business is Home Appliances and IoT brand Haier, ranked 15th in the Top 100 with a brand value of $16.3 billion. The report also shows the investments brands make to build value are measurably rewarded in the stock market. The BrandZ China Top 100 stock portfolio, comprising the same 100 brands, has outperformed the MSCI China Index by almost four times, growing 111% since July 2010 vs. 28%.

The Brand Power metric also looks at how brands perform in being Different (distinctive), and Salient (coming to mind at the moment of consideration). While Chinese brands generally score well for being Meaningful and Salient, they do not perform as well in being viewed as truly distinctive from the competition or as trendsetters.

BrandZ’s top-five 2019 takeaways for building valuable brands in China include:
Build difference: As the China market becomes even more competitive the importance of Difference increases.

Go deep: China is growing fastest in lower-tier cities; relying on insights gained from competing in coastal metropolises can help – but can also create misunderstanding.

Refine the brand experience: Standing out from sameness requires delivering a memorable brand experience by personalizing one or more aspects of the brand.

Be intelligent: To produce the extreme convenience lifestyle favored by Chinese consumers, the path to success involves a combination of human and artificial intelligence.

Build a powerful brand: At the point of sale – physical or online – a powerful brand enjoys an important edge against all other brands trying to convert consumers to customers.

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