Taobao becomes China’s most valuable brand

Alibaba-owned online shopping giant has brand value of 230 billion yuan, says study. Separate report names affiliate Ant Financial among country’s top-50 fintech companies.

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 3:26pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 11:09pm

Taobao, the online shopping platform owned by Alibaba Group, has become the country’s most valuable brand for the first time, according to the “Hurun Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2016” report.

Now valued at 230 billion yuan (HK$266.91 billion), Taobao was followed by telecommunications operator China Mobile, worth 227 billion yuan, and mainland internet search leader Baidu in third place, with a value of 218 billion yuan, the annual ranking by the Shanghai-based Hurun Research Institute showed.

Now in its eleventh year, the rankings are based on companies’ market value and what it calls a “brand premium”, as well as feedback from 1,000 Chinese consumers, 65 per cent of whom have more than 8,000 yuan monthly income.

In a separate report on Tuesday by KPMG, Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial Services was named among the 50 leading financial technology companies now operating in China.

Other companies in this group included Hong Kong-based WeLab, and Baidu Finance.

KPMG head of China banking Arthur Wang said those listed “were distinguished by their innovative business practises as well as ... solutions for some of the biggest issues facing the financial services sector”.

In the Hurun report, Tencent Holdings dropped from top to fifth, with a 210 billion yuan brand value, as its social-messaging service WeChat was counted separately for the first time, itself coming in at seventh with a 132 billion yuan value.

Alibaba payment platform Alipay was ranked at 18, with Tmall at 10. New York-listed Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

Despite their leading positions, the actual brand values of Taobao, China Mobile and Baidu shrank 13-14 per cent from last year.

But the total value of the 200 brands covered in the study, half of which are privately owned, climbed 7 per cent year on year, and 64 per cent over three years, to a record high 4.6 trillion yuan.

The overall value of the technology sector outperformed its peers, growing 59 per cent year on year.

NetEase, the online game developer which runs search site, saw its brand value jump most, up 298 per cent to 17.5 billion yuan. It was followed in the rankings by telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies, whose value surged 293 per cent year on year to 55 billion yuan.

The tech sector was followed by the movie and television industry, with aggregate brand values swelling 33 per cent year on year, then home appliance makers, whose brand values rose 22 per cent.

Rupert Hoogewerf, the chairman and chief researcher of Hurun Report, said he expects the brand value of technology firms to keep rising, as China’s economic priority continues to emphasise domestic consumption and as many more technological brands become part of everyday life for more Chinese consumers.