Chinese banking brands join the world's top 10
Four Chinese brands are now in the top 10 of the most-valuable banking brands, with ICBC topping the table, according to a recent report released by Brand Finance, a London-based brand valuation consultancy. Five years ago, there were none.
"Chinese brands were once the minnows of our global studies while Japanese, European, and particularly US brands dominated the rankings," said Alex Haigh, director of Brand Finance. "However, in 2012 President Xi Jinping called on Chinese companies to start a trend of ‘Branded in China', rather than simply ‘Made in China' and since then China has been the rising dragon of our studies."
In 2014, Xi said China should have its own flagship products and establish its own world-renowned brands, believing that the future of China's industry went beyond manufacturing, and that focus had to move to the promotion of China's own products.
Xi's emphasis on brands is paying dividends. Not only have Chinese brands improved their ranking in international league tables, but the value of China's 100 most valuable brands has more than tripled in the last five years, from $266 billion in 2012 to $823 billion in 2017.
ICBC is China's most-valuable brand, with its value growing 32 percent year-on-year to $47.8 billion. Its growth has been so strong that it has overtaken US bank Wells Fargo to become the world's most valuable banking brand.
Haigh said China's brands have a number of common attributes. The first is scale, with China's vast population and the growing prosperity of its citizens creating a huge market for its major brands, he said.
"Cultural factors are just as significant as macroeconomic ones because Chinese consumers have a relationship with their brands that Western brands can only dream of," Haigh added.
Despite the tremendous growth in developing global brands, pundits saidChina remains behind the Westin some areas.
"It is not a matter of just becoming well-known but also admired and wanted," said Paul Temporal, a global expert on brand creation and an associate fellow at Oxford University's Said Business School.
Temporal argued that there is a difference between a global business and a global brand, adding that the key difference between weak and powerful brands is the strength of the emotional relationship between the brand and consumers, given everything being equal on the rational product side.
He said Chinese businesses need to learn techniques in creating powerful emotional connections with consumers, something that has been successfully employed by Western brands.