China overtook the US to become the world’s largest economy last year, boosted by the region’s fast-growing, blue-chip companies across a variety of sectors such as technology, finance and oil.
WPP and Millward Brown has today released its fifth annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands report. The ranking shows how much “brand” drives revenue for China’s biggest businesses. This year, for the first time, China’s tech brands surpassed banks in terms of brand value.
But how many do you recognise?
Millward Brown’s ranking combines financial data from Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel and opinions garnered from a panel of more than 405,700 Chinese consumers in total since the ranking first launched in 2008.
The brands listed in the top 100 must meet four eligibility criteria:
- The brand was originally created by a mainland Chinese enterprise
- The brand is owned by a publicly traded enterprise.
- The brand reported positive earnings for the period covered in the ranking.
- Banks derived at least 20% of their earnings from retail banking.
Brand Value: $US11.86 billion
Change year on year: -13%
The Bank of China was founded in 1912 at the same time as the formation of modern China. It served as the country's central bank until the People's Republic of China was established in 1949. It is headquarted in Beijing.
Over the past year the company has made credit and lending more available to small and medium-sized businesses, with the aim of driving economic growth. The bank also improved its retail offering by opening separate facilities for high income individuals, and it introduced special credit cards for business travellers and students studying abroad.
Brand Value: $US12.02 billion
Change year on year: -11%
PetroChina is one China's three state-controlled oil companies. It was formed in 1999 is listed on the New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.
As well as exploring for crude oil and natural gas, the company also refines and markets products like plastics, rubbers and fertilizers. It has a high level of brand awareness thanks to the large number of gas stations it supplies.
Brand Value: $US15.42 billion
Change year on year: -20%
Originally state-owned, ABC is one of China's largest commercial banks. It had more than 23,550 domestic branches at the end of 2013 and has recently expanded into neighbouring countries such as Russia.
Last year the company launched a major brand advertising campaign which featured in several airports and outdoor venues to promote its mission of helping develop China's agricultural potential and landscape.
Brand Value: $US15.49 billion
Change year on year: +18%
Sinopec, also known as China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, is another of China's state-owned oil and gas companies. It operates China's largest chain of gas stations, manufactures industrial products, and is engaged in oil exploration and refinement.
Recently Sinopec entered an agreement with Chinese online giant Tencent (More on that company later) to explore new opportunities in the areas of online payment and marketing. Sinopec also entered an agreement with S.F. Express to use its gas stations as click-and-collection points for online orders.
Brand Value: $US21.01 billion
Change year on year: -18%
China Construction Bank was founded in 1954 as the People's Construction Bank of China, a state-owned bank that financed government projects. Today, the publicly-traded company provides loans and other banking products to Chinese industrial corporations in the oil, gas, power, and telecommunications industries. It also offers personal banking facilities, such as online loans and owns a shopping mall-type site e.ccb.com.
Last year the company acquired a 71% stake in Brazil's Bunco Industrial e Commercial S.A., the largest international acquisition to date by a Chinese bank. The company hopes this holding will help it accelerate its expansion in Latin America.
Brand Value: $US30.9 billion
Change year on year: +55%
Founded in 2000, Baidu is the largest Chinese language search engine and was the first Chinese company to be listed in the NASDAQ-100 Index. In terms of search engines, it is second only to Google worldwide. Its mobile search product reached 500 million monthly active visitors in June, and revenue from mobile now account for 30% of the total.
Last year the company opened a research center in Silicon Valley and appointed Google's former AI chief as its chief scientist. It also launched a Google Glass competitor.
Brand Value: $US34.52 billion
Change year on year: -13%
ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) is the world's largest bank by total assets. The Chinese government still holds a majority stake in the company.
The bank spent last year accelerating growth overseas, having acquired a majority stake in Standard Bank Plc. ICBC now operates in 40 countries and helps Chinese brands -- particularly in sectors such as construction, clean energy and agriculture -- go global.
Brand Value: $US59.68 billion
Change year on year: New entrant
Alibaba didn't even feature in BrandZ's Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese brands list last year. But following the world's most successful ever IPO in September, raising more than $US25 billion, Alibaba has catapulted into second place.
The e-commerce company has become a serious threat to Amazon and eBay. Alibaba has huge scale, with more than 307 million buyers as of September. On Singles' Day last year -- which Alibaba has transformed into China's biggest online shopping day -- Alibaba sold $US9.3 billion-worth of goods in 24-hours.
Its portfolio of businesses span areas including music streaming, online payments, and social networks. The company's recent acquisitions also include an online luxury retailer; an e-learning company; a producer of movies and TV shows; and it even took a 50% stake in soccer team Guangzhou Evergrande. The company's founder and CEO Jack Ma (pictured) is the richest man in China.
Brand Value: $US66.08 billion
Change year on year: 95%
Tencent is China's biggest internet portal and this year became the first technology brand to lead BrandZ's Chinese rankings.
Its biggest properties include QQ instant messenger, WeChat, QQ Games, PaiPai and Tenpay. Unlike most internet companies, Tencent doesn't generate most its revenue from advertising: Instead it makes most of its money by selling virtual goods and games.
Tencent is also increasingly forging ties with Western brands -- such as Burberry, Nike and the BBC -- as Tencent looks to international shores to fuel its growth outside its native China. In the year ahead Tencent plans to invest heavily in video.
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