US Insights

Top 50 Chinese Global Brand Builders

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

Brands 04.01.2019 / 10:00

2019 BrandZ COBB cover

Chinese brands are growing fastest in Japan, France and Spain.

Research published today from brand equity experts BrandZ™ – by WPP and Kantar – reveals the “Brand Power” of leading Chinese brands is up 15% year-on-year, compared with 5% growth last year. The BrandZ™ Top 50 Chinese Brand Builders 2019 report also finds “Brand Power” is rising fastest in Japan, France and Spain, representing emerging hubs of growth.

The findings of this unique study, which ranks Chinese brands on the strength of their brand overseas, celebrate the dynamism and rising competitiveness of Chinese businesses that are becoming global brands. With Japanese, French and Spanish consumers becoming increasingly positive towards Chinese brands, there are significant growth opportunities for those wanting to expand into these markets.

Yet the research also warns more should be done to ensure they thrive in an increasingly cutthroat global market which presents not only significant growth opportunities but also unprecedented levels of competition. Awareness of Chinese brands in international markets has declined over the past three years. Brands that can differentiate themselves from the competition and be more salient – staying front-of-mind for consumers – are more powerful.

EN 2019 COBB Awareness Decline

David Roth, WPP, says: “Chinese brands must think beyond just the launch of their products to a more holistic brand building approach. Creating an emotional and differentiated understanding for their brands will be the real determinate of long-term success outside of China. As the spotlight continues to focus on China and its role in the global economy, this report and its insights shine a guiding light for the nation’s most ambitious, outward-looking brands – and how they can win overseas.”

Because Chinese brands are relatively well-known in neighbouring countries and emerging markets, we chose to focus on markets with future export potential. We selected these seven developed markets from different geographic regions: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Australia and Japan. We also selected a mix of 12 established and internet-driven categories in which Chinese brands are active overseas: consumer electronics, home appliances, airlines, cars, smart devices, mobile gaming, e-commerce, online fast fashion, payment networks, oil & gas, banks and content apps.

2019 Top 10 BrandZ Chinese Global Brand Builders

Rank 2019



Brand power 2019

% Change vs 2018



Consumer Electronics





Consumer Electronics










Consumer Electronics





Content Apps





Home Appliances





Home Appliances




Air China






Consumer Electronics





Consumer Electronics



Brand Power is the BrandZ™ metric of brand equity, the consumer predisposition to choose a particular brand. Three ingredients comprise Brand Power: Meaningful (meeting functional and emotional needs in relevant ways); Different (being distinctive or trend setting); and Salient (coming easily to mind in a buying situation). Meaningful and Different scores of each brand were computed based on Google Survey answers. Each brand’s Salience was computed based on the survey answers and the brand’s search index in Google and YouTube.

The 2019 study covers 12 categories reflecting the breadth of business sectors in which Chinese brands are going, and growing, overseas. Consumer electronics and mobile gaming account for almost half the Brand Power of the full Top 50 (34% and 14% of total Brand Power respectively), with home appliances and e-commerce the next biggest contributors contributing 11% and 10%.

Brand Power Distribution of 2019 Top 50 Brands

EN 2019 COBB Power Distribution

Online fashion has seen the largest rise in Brand Power, with Sheln and Zaful fuelling growth of 57%. Home appliances grew by 39%, e-commerce 30%, smart devices 20%, both banks/payment networks and consumer electronics by 17%, and mobile gaming by 11%. Cars fell 5%.

EN 2019 COBB Category Changes

Doreen Wang, Global Head of BrandZ at Kantar, adds: “Our third annual BrandZ™ Top 50 Chinese Global Brand Builders ranking shows just how rapidly the global marketplace is evolving. It’s why now it is even more important than ever for Chinese brands to grow their Brand Power overseas. They are already perceived as innovative and cutting-edge by young consumers – but they must be mindful of being a business operating within an international market and adapt their communications strategy to resonate locally.”

BrandZ™’s Top-five takeaways from the report for Chinese brands:

●    Have “brand-centric” ambitions

Products and services can come and go, but a strong brand that stands for something meaningful, beyond what a business actually makes and sells, can last many lifetimes. A strong brand with a powerful purpose is what gives a business permission in consumers’ minds to move into new products, services and sectors – and to try new business models. It all hangs on the brand. And our research in markets all over the world shows there’s a compelling correlation between strong brands, valuable brands, and financially successful businesses.

●    Make insights-driven decisions in determining your route to market

Linking first-party data with market insights, trends data and behavioural data can help brands identify where the strongest areas of opportunity lie in their sector - and specifically for Chinese brands in their category. At its broadest level, this means helping guide a brand’s decision on whether to launch first in market A or market B, but it goes far beyond this. Data can also identify precisely what consumers really need, and therefore where the opportunity lies for brands.

●    Draw on the best local talent to identify the best local insights

To draw the most useful learnings from rich data streams requires insights to be seen through the lens of experts in local business and consumer culture. And who better to provide that expertise than people with experience in each target market? Some of the most successful Chinese global brands spend many months – and significant resources – embedding their Chinese staff with local companies and experts to gain a deep understanding of what works locally. They also hire senior people from leading local brands who know how things are done.

This approach is reminiscent of many Western multinationals’ entry into China in the 1990s; those who tried to roll out a Western model largely failed, while those who worked with Chinese staff to understand the nuances of the local market were able to ensure they had a locally relevant proposition.

●    Create compelling, high-quality content; draw on the power of influential people

Storytelling is an essential part of driving brand awareness, helping brands make meaningful and memorable connections with consumers, and building loyalty. It can also be used to deliver on short-term objectives, such as promoting the features of a new product and converting browsers to buyers.

Video storytelling has long been a powerful way to build a brand; now brands can use online video to reach greater numbers of people in new and creative ways. The ability to target audiences also gives them the opportunity to present content that’s tailored to resonate with specific groups of people – and even individuals.

Consumers place immense trust in the recommendations of people they feel have their best interests at heart. While friends and family used to be the first port of call for advice on products and services, the sense of intimacy created by online media means that online influencers such as video bloggers now also feel like friends and are sought-after sources of wisdom. For brands, the opportunity to join forces with influencers who share their values – and who are passionate about the subjects they talk about – is incredibly powerful. As well as giving them another way to influence a purchase decision, online influencers enable brands to open up conversations with consumers rather than simply send out messages. 

The BrandZ Top 50 Chinese Brand Builders 2019 is based on a deep understanding of what motivates consumers, how to fulfil their expectations, and how to build powerful, valuable and extraordinary brands that consumers and investors love. The full report along with charts and videos can be downloaded here. BrandZ app can be downloaded from , iTunes or Google Play. All BrandZ™ valuation results are also available for Bloomberg subscribers at their fingertips.

Full Ranking of The BrandZ Top 50 Chinese Overseas Brand Builders 2019

2019 EN Chinese Overseas Brand Builders Top 50 Ranking 

About BrandZ™

Created by WPP and Kantar, BrandZ™ is the world’s largest and most definitive brand building platform, with a series of brand valuation ranking that allow business owners to understand the financial contribution their brand makes to their business. BrandZ™ calculates brand value by combining financial and market data with primary research data from interviews with more than 3.7m consumers in over 50 countries on their views on over 166,000 brands. BrandZ™ is trusted by many of the world’s most established financial institutions, with the BrandZ™ valuations fed directly into the Bloomberg terminals, used by over 300,000 of the world’s most influential decision makers. BrandZ™ is the only brand valuation ranking that takes into account the opinions of consumers – the people who buy from brands and whose daily spending decisions determine their rise and fall. This insight into consumers allows us not only say if a brand’s value has increased or decreased but also look into our data and pinpoint why.

Source: Kantar

Editor's Notes

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