Chinese cohort cracks brand worth of $1 trillion on global index

06 February 2019 4 min. read
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A number of Chinese companies have pushed into the world’s top-twenty most valuable brands according to Brand Finance’s 2019 Global 500 list, with an overall combined value of more than $1.3 trillion.

Compiled annually by brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance, and this year released in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services at the World Economic Forum, the Global 500 list evaluates the worth and strength of leading brands across the planet. The latest edition has seen the listed brands from China collectively crack the $1 trillion mark, with four Chinese companies climbing into the top 20.

While the global tech giants continue to dominate the very top of the list – claiming six of the first ten slots with Amazon, Apple and Google retaining their top three rankings and Microsoft climbing from sixth to fourth ahead of Samsung – there has been a reasonable degree of movement this year as to the bottom half of the top-twenty, including new entries Huawei, Ping An, Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank), and WeChat.

And not just a matter of gradual strengthening, all four of these notably cross-sector companies have crashed into the upper-elite, with WeChat jumping from 47th to 20th (at the expense of Tencent, down one spot to 21st), Agbank moving up ten spots to 16th, insurance firm Ping An flying into 14th from 29th, and Huawei coming in at 12th from 25th last year – although the assessment was made prior to recent charges issued by the US Department of Justice.Three of the Big Four brands assessed as elite AAA+ in global rating

These Chinese movers join top-twenty local incumbents Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (8th globally at a worth of nearly $80 billion), China Mobile, 2018 debutant State Grid, and Bank of China. In addition, Alibaba-owned online shopping site Taobao has made its Global 500 list debut in an astonishing 23rd spot, while spin-off Tmall has debuted at 35th. China was also home to fastest growing brand by worth, local Netflix-alike iQiyi, which was up a staggering 326 percent on last year.

Accounting for nearly one fifth of the list, the Chinese brands featured are together now worth more than $1.3 trillion. “Chinese brands are braced for the trade wars ahead and starting the year confidently, seeing notable rises in brand value across a variety of sectors: tech, banking, insurance, and real estate,” summarised Brand Finance CEO David Haigh. “It now rests upon the guardians of these Chinese brands to navigate the choppy waters of US tariffs and negotiate their way through the escalating tensions in the years to come.”

The reference from Haigh to brand guardians stems from this year’s report including a new CEO ranking, which measures leaders as brand ambassadors across multiple dimensions including success in marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Here, the Chinese presence is less dominant, with Baidu’s Robin Li (5th) and Qingping Li of China CITIC bank (8th) and Tencent’s Pony Ma at 17th the only Chinese leaders in the top 20 – with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos topping the list.

On a sad note, Accenture’s former long-time leader Pierre Nanterme, who passed away earlier this week, is named at 18th on the Brand Guardianship index. Ernst & Young CEO Mark Weinberger – who will step down later this year – also featured inside the top 50, along with Punit Renjin of Deloitte and PwC Chairman Bob Moritz – with the latter two firms ranking in the overall worldwide top ten for brand strength – another Brand Finance metric which measures the ‘efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors’ – headed this year by Ferrari.Big Four firms Deloitte and PwC in top-ten for global brand-strength