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UK Insights

The BrandZ Top 50 Chinese Global Brand Builders know innovation is key

Kirsty Cooke

Head of Digital Content, UK

Brands 06.02.2018 / 09:00


The latest BrandZ report shows that the Chinese brands making the biggest impact outside China are innovating and expanding at an impressive rate.

Today sees the launch of the BrandZ Top 50 Chinese Global Brand Builders, a ranking and report from WPP and Kantar Millward Brown in collaboration with Google, ranking the most powerful Chinese brands internationally. Lenovo Group Ltd takes the top spot, and Consumer Electronics is the dominant category. But what is setting these brands apart? How are these home-grown brands making an impact in international markets?

Innovation is key. Chinese brands are at the forefront of innovation, and these global brand-builders are succeeding in establishing ‘Brand China’ as innovative, cutting edge and pioneering. 18-34 year olds in particular have a high perception of China as innovative.

The Top 50 contains ten Consumer Electronic brands, including Huawei and Xiaomi, with four such businesses in the top ten (see below). Technology is everywhere, with E-Commerce (e.g. the impressive Alibaba), Mobile Gaming and Consumer Electronics making up 61% of the total ‘Brand Power’ score in this year’s Top 50.

Rank 2018 Brand Category Brand Power 2018


2018 vs 2017

1 Lenovo Consumer Electronics  1,697  1%
2 Huawei Consumer Electronics  1,530  22%
3 Alibaba  E-Commerce  1,101  5%
4 Xiamoi Consumer Electronics  757  6%
5 Air China  Airlines  730  3%
6 Elex  Mobile Gaming  724  -22%
7 Anker Consumer Electronics  612  22%
8 Haier  Home Appliances  578  1%
9 Hisense  Home Appliances  530  10%
10 Cheetah Mobile

Mobile Gaming/Internet Services

 512  3%

This year’s Top 50 also contains four Auto brands; the largest two state-owned Oil & Gas giants; three state-owned Banks and Payments Networks; and five of China’s Airlines.

Chinese brands and China

As well as placing emphasis on innovation, China’s Global Brand Builders see themselves as having a higher calling, helping them play their part in building 'Brand China' abroad. Chinese state-owned brands have demonstrated their widespread support for the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, while Banks, Airlines and China’s heavy manufacturing industry are putting their full weight behind China’s ambitious foreign policy.

A further important element of being a Global Brand Builder is being able to change perceptions of China and Chinese brands abroad. Doreen Wang, Global Head of BrandZ, Kantar Millward Brown said: “Chinese brand builders aren’t just concerned with reaching a wider global audience, they are aiming to change customers’ perceptions too. Brands that succeed in China’s formidably competitive marketplace are not just out-gunning the competition in terms of innovation, they are deploying an equally powerful weapon – branding.”

The UK has shown the most positive attitude towards Chinese brands, and across the world it is younger people showing the greatest appreciation for Chinese brands and products. Doreen Wang explains that despite making significant headway, there remain challenges ahead for Chinese brands. She commented: “While negative perceptions of some Chinese brands may persist among older generations of consumers, there is a shift in attitude among younger generations. Younger consumers are turning to brands such as Lenovo, Alibaba and because they are united by their love of cool, affordable products and services, regardless of their country of origin.” The report highlights key areas to help improve Chinese brand awareness abroad; limited awareness of Chinese brands, improving consumer's perception of trust, and investing in brand-building.  

Read more and the full report here.

Source : Kantar Millward Brown

Editor's Notes

Images courtesy of BrandZ™ / WPP

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