Tencent overtakes China Mobile to become Asia's most valuable brand

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 May, 2014, 1:19am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 May, 2014, 1:19am

Mainland internet giant Tencent Holdings emerged as the world's fastest-growing brand this year and surpassed China Mobile as the most valuable in Asia, according to the latest BrandZ Global Top 100 study.

Tencent led the 11 publicly listed mainland firms - with an estimated combined brand value of US$280 billion - that made the top 100 rankings in the ninth edition of the study, which was commissioned by British firm WPP, the world's largest advertising company by revenue, and conducted by research agency Millward Brown Optimor.

The BrandZ report said Tencent, which operates the mainland's largest internet portal as well as its biggest online and mobile games business, almost doubled its value to about US$54 billion to seize the 14th spot, up from 21st last year.

That was enough for Tencent to overtake China Mobile, the world's biggest wireless network operator by number of subscribers, as Asia's most valuable brand this year. China Mobile, which had 784.6 million subscribers at the end of last month, was ranked No15.

Founded in 1998, Tencent is also this year's fifth most valuable technology brand behind top-ranked Google, Apple, International Business Machines and Microsoft. It ranks ahead of German software giant SAP, social network kingpin Facebook, mainland online search leader Baidu, smartphone sales leader Samsung Electronics and US technology powerhouse Oracle.

"The big story here is that a market-driven Chinese brand is now at the top, rather than a state-owned enterprise that might have benefited from being a monopoly," said Deepender Rana, the managing director at Millward Brown Greater China.

"Tencent continues to innovate, and increasingly plays a bigger role in helping people to organise their lives, like other successful brands such as Google and Facebook."

The BrandZ study uses data from two million interviews with consumers from around the world, alongside financial data, to calculate brand value. This year's top 100 are worth US$2.9 trillion, up 12 per cent from last year.

"With 11 brands in the top 100, China continues to have the largest representation from Asia," Rana said.

Guotai Junan International analyst Ricky Lai said the BrandZ ranking would see a major addition from the mainland next year in Alibaba, the mainland's biggest e-commerce services provider.

"There is a huge potential for Alibaba to rank high as one of the world's most valuable brands after the company completes its initial public offering this year," Lai said.