China Insights

2018 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Report

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

Brands 29.05.2018 / 15:00

2018 Global BrandZ cover 2 col

Tech, content and creativity drive biggest rise in BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands. China accounts for three fastest rising brands as Chinese brands grow at double the pace of US brands.

Bingeing on Netflix boxsets, sharing stories on Facebook and downloading content from Apple’s iTunes have contributed to a record year of brand value growth in the 2018 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking released today by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown.

The increasing use of data-driven, intelligence-led technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) – alongside creative marketing approaches has allowed many brands to build a more in-depth understanding of their customers and deliver convenience, personalised content and exceptional brand experiences.

Eight out of the Top 10 are technology or tech-related brands. This category continues to dominate the rankings with Google and Apple retaining the No.1 and 2 spots, growing 23% to US$302.1 billion and 28% to US$300.6 billion respectively. Amazon moved into the No.3 position ahead of Microsoft, growing +49% to US$207.6 billion.

China’s Tencent, after breaking into Top 10 for first time last year, continued making its foray and rose to No.5 ahead of Facebook (No.6). Another leading Chinese brand Alibaba also nearly doubled its brand value (92%) to rank No.9 globally.

The BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands 2018

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Brand value 2018 ($M)

Brand value change

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Telecom Providers




Tencent moved up three places from last year’s ranking, growing 65% in brand value to US$179 billion. The Tencent “house of brands” offers consumers everything from social media, mobile payments and transport bookings. Its dominant social media platform WeChat recently reached over 1 billion user accounts worldwide.

Alibaba’s first appearance in the Top 10 chart was because it expanded its global reach through its advertising campaign which built on its long-term brand purpose. Consumers splurged on Alibaba’s Singles Day, generating sales of over US$25 billion in just 24 hours and dwarfing other popular online shopping days, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon’s Prime Day.

Trailblazing Chinese brands dominate the Fastest Risers this year with (No.59) leading the march following a staggering +94% rise in brand value (also up 1,273% over the last three years) bolstered by its entry into new categories such as finance. Alibaba is second on this ranking with only 2 percentage points of difference on growth rate.

Third fastest riser was Moutai (No.34) growing by 89% as rising personal incomes in China allowed more consumers to upgrade to premium brands including high-end spirits.

This was the first year non-US brands grew faster than US brands. Fourteen Chinese brands appear in the Top 100 ranking compared to just one (China Mobile) in 2006. The total value of China’s Top 10 grew year-on-year by 47%, more than double that of the US brands (23%).

EN Chinese Brands Among Top 100

As the largest and definitive brand-building platform in the world, BrandZ reflects the brands that are integrated into today’s consumer lifestyles.  It is the only brand valuation study to combine interviews with over 3 million consumers globally with analysis of the financial and business performance of each company (using data from Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel).

BrandZ’s ranking methodology combines a brands’ financial performance with brand contribution index derived from consumer data, which quantifies how much of the volume people purchases can be attributed to brand equity and how much of the price premium people pay can be attributed to brand equity. All BrandZ candidate brands have to be owned by a company which releases audited financial reports regularly. Huawei, itself being a private company, has been regularly releasing audited financial reports so it was included.

Brand Z Evaluation Formula Full

David Roth, WPP, said: “We’ve seen the biggest ever rise in brand value this year, driven by growth across all categories. Both new and established players have seen the payoff in being bold and adopting a long-term outlook towards brand-building.

He said: “WPP’s own focus is on providing innovative approaches for our clients that combine data and technology with world-class creativity. Those companies that invest in intelligence-led marketing and back their brands with the power of creativity and ideas will be the winners in today’s world of innovation, disruption and change.”

Despite economic and political uncertainty in many regions of the world, this year’s ranking shows its largest-ever annual increase in value – almost US$750 billion (21%). This gave the BrandZ Global Top 100 an overall total brand value of US$4.4 trillion; up 204% over 12 years since it was first published in 2006. This is also the first year that all categories in the BrandZ Top 100 reported growth.

Other parts of the world, such as India and Indonesia, are also showing strong regional growth. The BrandZ Top 100 included seven Asian brands (excluding China), which grew 14% giving them a total brand value of US$146 billion. Regional bank BCA (No.99) became the first Indonesian brand to enter the ranking, and newcomer Maruti Suzuki entered the Top 10 Car category for the first time.

Amazon moved into the No.3 position ahead of Microsoft, growing 49% to US$207.6 billion. This reflected several strategic investments that continued to drive innovation and deliver comfort and convenience, including Alexa’s integration with auto brand BMW, cross-category acquisitions such as Whole Foods Market and the launch of three new Echo devices.

This year’s Fastest Risers were represented by a diverse range of categories and included PayPal (No.4), Netflix (No.5), Gucci (No.6), Tesla (No.8), Adidas (No.12), Shiseido (No.17) and Louis Vuitton (No. 20). All these brands strived to deliver exceptional quality and provide positive consumer experiences through impactful marketing communications.

Key trends highlighted in this year’s BrandZ Global Top 100 study include:

• Intelligence-led marketing, such as AI and AR, allows brands to “revive and thrive” and maintain relevance to consumers.

• and HP reappeared on this year’s list, having both been in the BrandZ Top 100 in 2016. US telecoms giant Spectrum (No.27) led the Newcomers to the rankings, with Uber (No.81) and Instagram (No.91). Last year’s fastest riser Adidas jumped into the ranking at 100. It was also the first time an Indonesian brand entered the BrandZ Top 100 with regional bank BCA at No.99.

• Partnerships proved pivotal as brands sought ways to maximise efficiency. Leading brands continued to raise the bar on expectations for customer experience at every touch point—both online and offline—from trial to pick-up or delivery by seeking strategic, long-term partnerships.

• Retail demonstrated strong growth as the fastest rising category growing 35% in value over the last 12 months.

• Tech-related brands continue to dominate. In the “battle of the brands”, accounting for over half (56%) of the BrandZ Top 100’s brand value.

Doreen Wang, Kantar Millward Brown’s Global Head of BrandZ, commented: “Brands that are winning in the intelligence-led marketing era include businesses such as Amazon and Tencent who put the consumer at the heart of everything they do. These brands use technology to understand the needs of their consumers and apply these learnings to create an ecosystem of services that fulfil multiple needs, enabling a seamless consumer experience between platforms.”

The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report and rankings, and a great deal more brand insight for key regions of the world and 14 market sectors, are available online here. The Global report, rankings, charts, articles and more can also be found via the BrandZ app. The BrandZ app also contains the same features and functionality for all BrandZ regional reports and is free to download for Apple IOS and all Android devices from or search for BrandZ in the respective iTunes or Google Play app stores.

Source: WPP, Kantar Millward Brown

Editor's notes

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