Despite being roiled by the global pandemic over the past six months and more recent geoplitical tremors, Chinese brands have led the Asian imprint on this year's BrandZ report. In 2020, Chinese labels accounted for 17 places in the listing, with Meituan (27% increase in brand value), JD.com (24%), Alibaba Group (16%) and Tencent (15%) leading the charge.
Overall, Asian brands account for a quarter of the top 100. Among five new entrants to the top 100, two are Chinese brands: Bank of China returned after a short absence and TikTok, the short video-sharing social network joined. (TikTok is among dozens of Chinese apps banned in India yesterday.) One of the other newcomers, Lancôme, entered the top 100, partly thanks to the strength of its sales in China.
Moutai, the traditional Chinese baijiu alcohol brand, increased its brand value 58%—the biggest improvement among all the top 100 brands (see list of top 20 most improved below).
Of the 24 Asia Pacific brands making the top 100 list, 17 are from China, two from Japan (Toyota and telecom provider NTT), two from India (HDFC bank and insurance provider LIC), Samsung from South Korea, Bank Central Asia from Indonesia and the Common Wealth Bank of Australia.
Amazon maintained its position as the world’s most valuable brand, growing 32% to $415.9 billion. Having first entered the Top 100 ranking in 2006, Amazon’s value grew by almost $100 billion this year and accounts for a third of the Top 100’s total growth. Technology brands continued to dominate the top of the ranking, representing over a third (37%) of brand value in the Top 100 and growing overall by 10%.
The retail sector showed strong performance, growing the fastest (21%) in brand value driven by the major e-commerce players. Over half of brands in the media and entertainment category appeared in the top 20 risers, including Netflix (+34%, $45.9 billion), up eight places to no. 26, Instagram (+47%, $41.5 billion) up 15 places to no. 29, LinkedIn (+31%, no. 43, $29.9 billion), and Xbox (+18%, $19.6billion), up 22 places to no. 65.
In a locked down world, several labels reshaped their remit in different ways and saw their brand values soar. Athleisure brand Lululemon (+40%,$9.7 billion) was one of the fastest risers, having shifted its focus from yoga-inspired wear to work appropriate clothing, as well as offering online classes for people at home. MasterCard, meanwhile, entered the Top 10 for the first time this year by successfully fitting into the ‘ecosystem’ of their everyday lives and gaining a close emotional connection through its purposeful positioning.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, brands have seen their total value increase by 6%, reaching $5 trillion, equivalent to the annual GDP of Japan, BrandZ noted. It has increased by 245% since 2006, when the total brand value first reached US$1 trillion. The Top 100 brands have shown they are more resilient and less volatile in the current crisis than they were during the global economic crisis of 2008-9, adding an additional $277 billion of brand value growth over the past year.
“We see a significant improvement in brand equity now compared to 10 years ago because businesses understand the importance of investing in brand-building and are stronger and more resilient as a result," says David Roth, CEO of The Store WPP EMEA and Asia and Chairman of BrandZ. "While the impact of COVID-19 has impacted every business regardless of size or geography, consistent investment in marketing can and will help carry you through a crisis.”