Huawei seen as the most authentic brand in China: report

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 October, 2017, 12:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 October, 2017, 11:01pm

Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier, is the most authentic brand in China, according to a report by New York-based communications agency Cohn&Wolfe.

The privately held maker of networking systems and smartphones climbed from fourth last year to unseat the Bank of China at the top of the mainland rankings in Cohn&Wolfe’s fifth Authentic Brands Study, an annual consumer survey in 15 markets around the world on the role of authenticity in business.

That ranking marks a big leap for Shenzhen-based Huawei in terms of raising the domestic and global awareness for its brand.

It recently placed 49th in this year’s BrandZ study of the most valuable global brands, an annual survey conducted by British multinational advertising company WPP and market research firm Kantar Millward Brown.

Matt Stafford, the Asia-Pacific president at Cohn&Wolfe, said on Monday that the company’s own study showed “consumers value authenticity and will reward brands that work on being reliable, respectful and real – the three main drivers of brand authenticity”.

Its study is the result of a combination of primary and secondary research, including surveys on more than 1,400 brands, administered from May to June this year to more than 15,000 consumers in 15 markets: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States.

In China, 68 per cent of consumers indicated higher purchase intent with brands they perceive to be authentic, compared to 67 per cent in India and Indonesia. The global average is 62 per cent, according to Cohn&Wolfe.

Huawei’s hold on half of world’s telecoms gear gives it a shoo-in seat at the top table of cloud services

It said consumers in Asian countries displayed the most positive sentiments towards brand authenticity, with 43 per cent of consumers in China and 37 per cent in India perceiving brands to be “open and honest”, compared to a global average of 22 per cent.

Similarly, 49 per cent of consumers surveyed on the mainland agreed that brands “take full responsibility for their actions”, compared with 39 per cent in Indonesia and 38 per cent in India. The global average is 25 per cent.

Huawei, which recorded 521.6 billion yuan (US$79.2 billion) in revenue last year, is best known to consumers through its range of smartphones, led by its flagship Mate and popular Honor models.

The company recently captured the second spot for global smartphone shipments for the first time in June and July, moving ahead of Apple, according to research firm Counterpoint.

Ren Zhengfei, the founder and chief executive of Huawei, has characterised the company's brand philosophy in terms of being aware "to keep up with the times" amid all the uncertainty created by advances in technology.

"As we continue to immerse ourselves in product research, we will also increase our investment in researching uncertainty," said Ren.  

The other companies that made it to the top 10 most authentic brands on the mainland were personal computer maker HP, the Bank of China, semiconductor giant Intel, Haier, Visa, Chinese pharmaceutical company Tong Ren Tang, Siemens, Lenovo Group and appliance maker Gree Electric.

In Hong Kong, the top 10 most authentic brands comprise Google, Apple, Ikea, HSBC, Visa, Canon, MasterCard, 3M, the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Rolex.

The Cohn&Wolfe survey’s global top 10 consist of, Apple, Microsoft, Google, PayPal, Adidas, Intel, Lego, BMW and HP.