Jessica Goodfellow
Jul 17, 2020

Duopoly expands dominance within Asia as Vodafone, Reliance Jio lose ground

ASIA's TOP 1000 BRANDS: Telecommunications providers experienced widespread disruption this year, while tech behemoths Facebook and Google expanded their stronghold in the Asia-Pacific region.

Duopoly expands dominance within Asia as Vodafone, Reliance Jio lose ground


Mobile phone service providers experienced the biggest swings within the media and telecommunications category of this year's Asia's Top 1000 Brands ranking, as India's talking point of 2020, Reliance Jio, lost ground in several categories.

Where some local companies tumbled in categories such as telcos and streaming entertainment, US giants Facebook and Google clawed ever-more dominance. 

Asia's Top 10 media and telecommunications brands

2020 2019
Google Google
Facebook Facebook
YouTube YouTube
Facebook Messenger Yahoo
WhatsApp Instagram
Instagram Netflix
Line Wikipedia
Netflix Twitter
Twitter Firefox
Yahoo Line

In the overall media and telecommunications ranking there was a reshuffling, as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp—new entrants in the category at fourth and fifth place, respectively—pushed Wikipedia and Firefox out of the top 10.

Within media and telecommunications, messaging services was a new sub-category in 2020. We have conducted a separate analysis of this, plus the social-networking category, catch it here.

Yahoo tumbled six places to 10th overall among media and telecommunications brands, while Line jumped three slots to seventh.

Interestingly, Amazon dropped in the overall media and telecommunications category—from 11th place in 2019 to 14th in 2020—despite investing heavily in the region over the past year.

Mobile phone service provider

The most dramatic swings occurred in the mobile phone service provider category, with Vodafone tumbling from first to seventh place in one year.

This is one of the most locally focused categories in Asia’s Top 1000 Brands report, with few telcos dominant in more than one country. With that in mind, the swings may be influenced by the overall perception of a country, than the telecommunications company itself.

Vodafone used to feature in the top 10 in every country except Taiwan, and was the top telco in New Zealand in 2019. Now, it only features in three countries—Australia (third), India (third) and New Zealand, where it has fallen to fourth place, replaced by 2Degrees, Spark and Skinny Mobile.

Chunghwa Telecom, which is the largest telecommunications company in Taiwan, is now the top telco overall, followed by South Korea’s SK Telecom and Indonesia’s Telkomsel. The Philippines' Globe Telecom now sits above China Mobile, while Thailand’s AIS jumped from ninth to sixth place.

2020 2019
Chunghwa Telecom Vodafone
SK Telecom Chunghwa Telecom
Telkomsel China Mobile
Globe Telecom Singtel
China Mobile SK Telecom
AIS Globe Telecom
Vodafone Telkomsel
Smart Communications Smart Communications
Singtel AIS
Softbank Softbank

Of the prominent fallers, India's Jio fell from 15th at 23rd, while Reliance remained at 39th place. Indosat and Singapore's M1 both slipped six places, from 19th to 25th, and 29th to 35th respectively.

Those that climbed up the ranking include Vietnam's MobiFone, which jumped from 20th to 15th, Taiwan Mobile from 35th to 21st, FET from 47th to 30th, and Circles.Life from 52nd to 45th.

Internet search engine

Within the internet search engine category, the top three brands—Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia—retained their slots. Amazon—which offers a different kind of search engine to the others on the list—moved up to fourth place, supplanting Firefox. Bing and Baidu swapped places, now sitting at sixth and eighth respectively—informed by the fact that Baidu ranked only in China this year. 

Baidu had a challenging 2019, reporting some of the weakest total revenue growth in years in the first and second quarters, and posting its first net losses since going public in 2005 in Q1 and Q3 2019. Baidu is China’s biggest search engine with roughly 70% market share—but it is facing growing competition on the advertising front in its home country, and its international expansion has been slow to materialise.

This year, Google managed to grab the top slot in South Korea, formerly held by local search engine Naver. Now, the only country Google is not the top search engine is China. Yet despite not operating a search engine in the People’s Republic, it still ranks second in the market—behind Baidu.

2020 2019
Google Google
Yahoo Yahoo
Wikipedia Wikipedia
Amazon Firefox
Firefox Amazon
Bing Baidu
Naver Naver
Baidu Bing
Daum Daum

Streaming entertainment 

In streaming entertainment, in the top 10 list, Spotify climbed to third place, replacing Google Play, while Tencent jumped two spots to eighth place, overshadowing PCCW Media Group’s Viu.

Reigning champion YouTube ranked in China for the first time, in 19th place. It is number one in every other market expect Australia and New Zealand, where Netflix is the top streamer. Netflix gained one place in Japan, moving to third place behind YouTube and Amazon Prime, but it lost one place in Taiwan and Vietnam.

2020 2019
YouTube YouTube
Netflix Netflix
Spotify Google Play
Google Play Spotify
Amazon Prime Video Amazon Prime Video
iQiyi iQiyi
YouTube Premium YouTube Premium
Tencent iTunes
iTunes Viu
Viu Tencent

Those that lost ground in 2019 include Jio (surely set to change in 2020 given recent cash injections), which fell from 20th to 31st, Chinese firm LeEco fell from 21 to 32nd, and further down the list, Rakuten Showtime fell from 67th to 83rd.

Among the biggest gainers, Indonesian streaming service Genflix jumped from 104th to 49th, Dailymotion from 53rd to 33rd, while HBO Go and Twitch both lifted five slots to 25th and 30th.

Disney+ was a new entrant at 89th place—ranking 12th in Australia and 20th in New Zealand.

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