Alibaba, Huawei join Google, Apple and Facebook among world’s most valuable technology brands

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 February, 2017, 9:50pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 February, 2017, 7:04am

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group and telecommunications equipment powerhouse Huawei Technologies joined the likes of Google, Apple and Facebook among the top-ranked companies in the latest survey of the world’s 100 most valuable technology brands.

This year’s global ranking, published on Thursday by London-based consultancy Brand Finance, showed for the first time that two Chinese companies have landed in the top 10, with Alibaba up four spots to eighth and Huawei at tenth.

There were a total of 16 Chinese companies included in the top-100 list of Brand Finance, which values the brands of thousands of the world’s biggest companies every year.

“Many of these Chinese tech titans were virtually unknown just a few years ago and some are barely known outside their home market today,” Brand Finance said.

It pointed out that these firms are now “making waves financially and building brands that are rapidly gaining traction outside China”.

The consultancy estimates the value of brands using its “Royalty Relief” approach. This involves estimating the likely future sales that are attributable to a brand and calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for use of the brand.

It calculates brand strength on a scale of 0 to 100 based on a number of attributes such as emotional connection, financial performance and sustainability, among others.

New York-traded Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, saw its brand value nearly double to US$34.8 billion in this year’s survey from US$17.9 billion last year, according to Brand Finance.

The consultancy said Alibaba, which runs popular online shopping portals Taobao Marketplace and, continues to thrive in its home market and around the world “from the opportunities to both open up and simplify commerce for Chinese communities”.

To accelerate global brand recognition, Brand Finance said Alibaba has ramped up its investments in marketing and communications by becoming a major worldwide sponsor of the Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee and Alibaba jointly announced a long-term partnership through 2028 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month.

Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier, saw its brand value increase 28 per cent to US$25.2 billion this year from US$19.7 billion last year, according to Brand Finance.

Apart from its dominant position in the telecommunications network market, Shenzhen-based Huawei was also the world’s third-largest smartphone supplier last year with a 9.5 per cent market share behind Samsung Electronics and Apple, according to research firm IDC.

Hong Kong-listed games and social media giant Tencent Holdings was ranked 11th among the world’s most valuable technology brands.

The strength and value of the Tencent brand come principally from the PC and mobile games market
Brand Finance

“The strength and value of the Tencent brand come principally from the PC and mobile games market, including titles such as League of Legends, as well as the power of the brands it owns, such as WeChat,” Brand Finance said.

WeChat, which has more than 850 million users, was ranked 19th by Brand Finance, just behind Nasdaq-traded e-commerce titan

Chinese internet search market leader Baidu was ranked No 22, down from No 13 a year ago, as it dealt with public outrage over the death of a university student last year that was linked to a cancer treatment he found in an online search result.

NetEase, China’s second-largest online and mobile video game services provider, took the No 33 spot, followed by Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology at No 57. Hikvision is the world's biggest manufacturer of video surveillance products.

Lenovo Group, the world's largest supplier of personal computers, was listed at No 68, followed by smartphone and consumer electronics firm Xiaomi at No 75, white goods giant Haier Group Corp at No 76 and telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp at No 80.

Diversified internet company LeEco, which also supplies televisions and has a fledgling electric car operation, landed at No 81. It was followed by online travel service at No 91, consumer electronics and home appliances maker TCL Corp at No 94, and Gree Electric Appliances, the world's biggest supplier of residential air conditioners, at No 99.