A new BrandZ ranking of the top 30 Chinese Global Brand Builders has been topped by personal computer and mobile tech giant Lenovo – with Internet-driven advertisers predicted to push economic growth in the future.
The ranking and report, the first of its kind released by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown in collaboration with Google, also reflected that now is the time for Chinese brands to build themselves globally, by delivering and communicating quality and relevance.
Kantar Millward Brown surveyed 167 Chinese brands with a median ‘Brand Power’ score of 85 in September 2016, measuring consumer predisposition to choose a particular brands outside of China across seven countries.
Lenovo led the pack with a Brand Power score of 1,682, followed by Huawei at 1,256 and Alibaba at 1,047. Consumer electronics brands represented 40% of the ranking’s total Brand Power, with Xiaomi also the fifth most powerful at 716.
Internationally, the survey showed that the idea of Chinese brands is shifting. Despite established brands currently having the edge at 57% of the total Brand Power ranking, digital brands are at the fore with 59% comprising consumer electronics and mobile gaming, reflecting how international consumers perceive the region.
However, international consumers are less aware of, and generally less likely to consider purchasing, a Chinese brand than a local or globally recognised one. In France, Germany and Spain the consumers are more aware of and likely to consider Chinese brands than consumers in Japan, the UK or US.
“The study shows that the movement of ideas and product leadership has expanded globally, with consumers increasingly looking to China as a potential source for the newest and most innovative products and brands,” said The Store WPP chief executive for EMEA and Asia David Roth.
“This is the opportune time for Chinese brands to expand abroad, despite the many obstacles […] By analysing consumer perceptions of Chinese and non-Chinese brands, we have been able to identify gaps in Chinese brand performance and provide recommendations for brand building strength.”
Other findings show that negative perceptions of Chinese products are declining with consumers recognising the improvement in quality and thus choosing the brands based on benefits and relevance, with technology brands closing the ‘awareness gap’.
Also, Chinese brands are found to operate faster than Western brands, witch speed definitely seen as an advantage.
“The rules are changing for brands,” commented Kantar Millward Brown head of BrandZ Doreen Wang. “Whereas established brands have shown slow growth internationally over time – sometimes growing through mergers and acquisitions – the newer internet-driven brands are typically growing organically.
“Brands today are able to use the internet to give them global reach, leveraging their brand equity as a global identity and passport. The expansion of a brand is now no longer defined by the limits of its category, but by the possibilities of technology.
“So there is no longer a need to wait to be a domestic giant before going global. Start your brand intending to go global, and anticipate the necessary business infrastructure,” added Wang.
Kantar Millward Brown global brand director, media and digital Duncan Southgate has argued that brands need to have a better understanding of the combined power of different media to maximise the impact of their media spend – read more here.