In a year of exceptional pressure on growth, the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands gained 12% in value, in the 10th edition of the ranking revealed by WPP and Kantar. The Top 100 brands increased their worth by $106.8 billion to reach $996.4 billion, demonstrating the resilience of strong brands and their ability to build and sustain value in the most difficult of years.
Alibaba remains China’s most valuable brand for the second year, growing +9% to $153.3 billion, while Tencent (no.2) rose +9% to $151.0 billion. Premium alcohol brand Moutai (+47%; $53.8 billion) has climbed two places to no.3. Alibaba reinforced its leading position with a strategy that focused on lower tier and overseas markets, acquiring NetEase Kaola to meet demand for cross-border retail, and expanding its Freshippo retail and distribution locations. It also linked consumer data and logistics capabilities more closely to better recognise and fulfil customers’ needs.
Fourteen of the 24 categories grew in value, with Technology contributing a quarter of the ranking’s total value and Retail around a fifth. Entertainment saw the highest growth for the second year running, rising 221% in value as people spent more time online in lockdown, while Education grew by 92% as the increasing popularity of online learning was further stimulated by COVID-19.
Each of the Top 10 Risers (the brands which increased most in value year-on-year) grew by over 50%, with education provider Xueersi (no.38, +120% $4.6 billion) and alcohol brand Wu Liang Ye (no.26, +116%, $8.0 billion) more than doubling in value. Three are education brands, with Xueersi joined by New Oriental (no.36; +78%, $4.9 billion) and VIPKID (no.84; +67%, $1.3 billion). Third highest riser Lufax (no.19; +80%, $12.4 billion), a newcomer to the ranking in 2019 which was formed by financial services giant Ping An, grew +80% after successfully broadening its consumer finance operation.
Growth within the China Top 100 has been driven by the ability of the most valuable brands to align with the major trends shaping the Chinese market, including the desire for self-improvement and wellness, rapid urbanisation, premiumisation, and heightened national pride. Many trends were accelerated by COVID-19 as consumers reconsidered their priorities, with the accumulation of wealth declining in importance, and an increased focus on health, the environment, and the welfare of the nation.
There are 16 newcomers this year, led by short-form video brand Douyin (no.14; $16.9 billion) and e-commerce group buying platform Pinduoduo (no.23; $9.5 billion). Among the new entries are five unicorns (start-up companies valued at over $1 billion): Douyin and video sharing app Kuaishou (no.25; $8.6 billion), real estate agent Ziroom (no.71; $2.1 billion), and tech brands Toutiao (no.67; $2.3 billion) and Zhihu (no.91; $1.0 billion). Athleisure brand Li-Ning (no.99; $848 million) re-entered the ranking for the first time since 2013, after capitalising on the rise in patriotism with a range that celebrated Chinese culture and design.
Chinese brands continue to pursue global growth and rapidly expand their international presence and stature. Only one was listed in the 2006 ranking of the most valuable global brands; the 2020 ranking includes 17.
The 2020 Top 10 BrandZ China Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands
|Rank 2020 |
|Brand||Category||Brand value 2020 (US$M)||% change vs 2019|
|6 (4)||China Mobile||Telecom Providers||34,583||-12%|
|7 (7)||Ping An||Insurance||33,810||25%|
|9 (13)||Meituan||Lifestyle Platform||23,911||20%|
|10 (9)||China Construction Bank||Banks||21,089||-8%|
Compared with brands in other markets the BrandZ China Top 100 score highly in two key measures of brand equity, which drives value growth: Power, the consumer disposition to choose a brand over the competition, and Premium, the disposition to pay a higher price. However, Chinese brands lag global brands in another key component, Difference, which means they have an opportunity to drive further value growth by strengthening the perception that they stand out from the competition.
David Roth, CEO of The Store WPP, EMEA and Asia Chairman and Chairman of BrandZ said, “During the 10 years since we first valued China’s brands, the brand landscape has radically transformed as the economy rebalanced from production to consumption, while Chinese consumers have become the most sophisticated on the planet.
“Only five brands that were in the Top 10 when the rankings started still remain there today. This year, within just a few months, we’ve seen COVID-19 have a massive impact on the way consumers shop, what they buy, and their relationship with brands. Through all of these changes, the successful brands are those that have embraced digital, kept pace with consumer preferences and the way they navigate their lives.”
Doreen Wang, CEO, Kantar China and Global Head of BrandZ added, “It has never been more critical for brands to respond to shifting consumer priorities. For example, alongside delivering superior products and services, they need to demonstrate that they care for their employees and customers, the environment and society as a whole.
“COVID-19 will continue to influence consumer values, attitudes and behaviours, and this will impact needs, desires, brand selection and purchasing. Understanding Chinese consumers today, in all their diversity, depends on having deep human-centred insights. Brands must then act on those insights, making bold changes where necessary.”