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China Mobile tops value list

By Chen Yang (Global Times)

11:03, December 05, 2012

Brands held by State-owned enterprises (SOEs), led by telecom operator China Mobile, dominate a list of China's top 50 most valuable brands, but they have forged only weak emotional connections with consumers, a report showed Tuesday.

China is not immune to the global economic environment, and this year the total value of the top 50 brands fell to $320.2 billion, down 1.6 percent from a year earlier, according to an annual report published by WPP, the world's largest advertising group.

China Mobile, the country's largest telecom operator, retains the No.1 spot in this year's rankings with a brand value of $50.6 billion, down from $53.6 billion in 2011. The top 10 brands also include the "Big Four" banks and Internet companies Baidu Inc and Tencent Holdings.

In a similar list published by Hurun Report in August, China Mobile was also listed as the country's most valuable brand at 276 billion yuan ($44 billion).

"China Mobile's high ranking is mainly due to its State-owned background, monopoly status and the mass number of mobile phone users in China," Zheng Xin'an, a professor at the Chinese Brand Research Center with the Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing, told the Global Times Tuesday.

SOEs hold a dominant position on the top-50 list with 37 of the slots, down from 39 on the previous list, according to the WPP report.

"SOEs have gained a lot of policy support and benefited from increasing government spending amid China's economic slowdown, which helps them perform better than private companies," Li Guangdou, head of Beijing-based brand consultancy Wondersee, told the Global Times Tuesday.

Although the 50 most valuable Chinese brands have strong market presence, they have not formed substantial emotional connections with consumers, the report said.

"For consumers, factors such as brand awareness and reputation count more than the brand owner's business performance," Zheng said.

Tuesday's report also noted that some Chinese brands, such as Tencent, PC maker Lenovo and home appliance maker Haier, are increasingly active overseas as they attempt to integrate with the global market.

To appear on Tuesday's list, a brand must be owned by a publicly traded company that reported positive earnings in the 2011 fiscal year. The ranking is based on companies' financial performance and WPP's interviews with over 35,000 consumers in China.

On WPP's list of the 100 most valuable global brands, published in May, Apple Inc ranked first with a brand value of $183 billion, followed by tech firms such as IBM, Google and Microsoft as well as consumer brands including McDonald's and Coca-Cola. China Mobile ranked 10th, the highest among Chinese companies.


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