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Social media and technology companies top China’s most valuable brands study

China’s social networks and digital media giants have been ranked among the country’s most valuable brands due to their cumulative reach of four billion users, according to a study by research company Kantar Millward Brown.

Using financial data from Bloomberg and interviews with Chinese consumers, the Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands study ranked technology company Tencent in first place, followed by e-commerce giant Alibaba in second. Telco China Mobile and bank ICBC took third and fourth place respectively, while the country’s most-used search engine Baidu was ranked fifth.

Tencent’s messaging service WeChat’s was said to be the strongest factor in securing its top spot. The report said the app held an “indispensable” position among Chinese white-collar workers, giving Tencent a 30 per cent increase in value to US$106 billion since last year. More than 90 per cent of office workers use WeChat in their day-to-day work, the study added.

Although much lower in the rankings at number 61, Sina – the owner of microblogging site Weibo – was named as third-fastest rising brand in 2017. The report said Sina’s investment in live video and self-broadcasting through Weibo had “helped to build its following among young people and attract advertising revenue”; driving a 43 per cent rise in brand value to US$900 million.

Known collectively as the ‘BATS’ – Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Sina together were said to have hundreds of millions of active users across their total of eight different social media and/or e-commerce platforms. “They are the absolute core of China’s social and digital landscape because of their cumulative almost four billion users,” the report said.

Online and mobile gaming company NetEase ranked behind Sina as the seventh fastest rising brand, growing 36 per cent in value since last year. Overall on the list, NetEase was ranked 31st. The report said: “Digital technology now plays a part in every facet of daily life and newcomers to the listing and fast-risers like Sina and NetEase reflect this.”

Meanwhile, sectors such as banks, insurance, and oil and gas were found to have declined in value collectively by 6 per cent.

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