China Mobile has retained its place as China’s most valuable brand, for the fourth year running.
WPP’s 2014 WPP BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands index undertaken by Millward Brown assesses China Mobile’s value at US$61.4 billion, up a stunning 21 per cent on 2013.
Health care brand CR Sanjiu (48) is the fastest riser with a brand value increase of 86 per cent (US$841 million), driven in part by Chinese consumers’ growing attention to personal well-being. Yunnan Baiyao (up 72 per cent, to US$3 billion) also benefited from the well-being focus.
Dairy brand Yili grew 86 per cent (US$5.1 billion), making it the other top riser in the rankings and China’s 15th most valuable brand, due in part to rebuilding consumer trust with its ‘open factory’ campaign, which allowed the public and the media to see the production process.
Mengniu turned a 31 per cent decrease in 2013 into a rise of 30 per cent in this year’s ranking (US$3.1 billion) with the same strategy.
Tencent (US$33.9 billion) was the fourth top riser with value growth of 68 per cent, followed by Shuanghui (US$2.7 billion), up 60 per cent.
Bucking the downward trend in the alcohol category, beer brands Tsingtao Beer, Snow Beer and Harbin Beer all achieved double-digit value growth thanks to creative interactions with consumers.
Travel service provider Ctrip boosted its value 47 per cent after a 39 per cent decline last year, having continuously innovated to stand out from the competition with developments including a new mobile hotel booking app.
Among the top 50 brands in the ranking, 12 feature for the first time: China Minsheng Bank; Vanke, Poly Real Estate, Evergrande Real Estate and Country Garden (real estate); PICC and New China Life (insurance); Yanghe and Lu Zhou Lao Jiao (alcohol), Belle (apparel), NetEase and 360 (technology).
Meanwhile, BYD (cars) made a comeback at number 49 having dropped out of last year’s rankings.
The study also found China is increasingly a consumer-driven market amid the government’s increased emphasis on rebalancing the domestic economy.
It also says that market-driven brands (private companies without government backing) in the top 50 of the ranking enjoyed value growth of 27 per cent – three times that of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) at nine per cent.
“Strong brands are built on relevance, salience and meaningful difference – and Chinese brands must invest in delivering these attributes through developing an emotional bond with consumers, being ready to meet emerging needs and becoming more market oriented,” said Doreen Wang, head of branding, Millward Brown China.
“Those brands that are planning to go global, meanwhile, should consider whether their products are in one of the categories favoured by global markets, and also leverage in their communications those aspects of Chinese culture appreciated by overseas consumers.”