China 500 2022
The annual report on the most valuable and strongest Chinese brands

Brand Finance China 500 2022

China leading the world: TikTok is fastest-growing brand as Chinese brands look to future.

  • TikTok/Douyin achieves explosive growth, leading the nation and world in brand value growth
  • Huawei overcomes geo-political challenges to increase brand value by 29%
  • ICBC is China’s most valuable brand at over US$75 billion
  • BYD brand value doubles in value as electric vehicle market expands
  • Wuliangye achieves 12% brand value growth while brand value
  • Li Ning brand value is jumping high as sales increase
  • Increased investment is correlated with increased State Grid brand value growing past US$60 billion
  • Yili jumps 7 places as dairy brand value continues to grow
  • Fast brand value growth for Guangzhou Pharmaceutical with new strategy
  • CPIC achieves marginal brand value growth in tough time for insurance
  • Pinduoduo brand value surges as brand saturates market
  • Newly ranked JD Logistics innovates in supply chain sector
  • CNBM achieves fast brand value growth as global demand for materials increases
  • PetroChina brand value subsides amidst pandemic and low carbon disruption
  • Beijing is leading region for Chinese brand value
  • The Greater Bay Area owns the largest number with 125 top brands
  • Zhejiang is third-most valuable region for top brands
  • Chinese nation ranks third in 2022 Global Soft Power Index

TikTok/Douyin achieves explosive growth, leading the nation and world in brand value growth

More than tripling in brand value over the past year, TikTok/Douyin (brand value up 215% to US$59.0 billion) is the world’s fastest-growing brand. With an astounding 215% growth, the entertainment app’s brand value has increased from US$18.7 billion in 2021 to US$59.0 billion this year. Now the 7th most valuable Chinese brand, TikTok/Douyin has become a household name globally.

TikTok/Douyin has been particularly successful in growing a valuable brand in a world affected by COVID-19 restrictions across the world, with the brand focused on entertaining users on their mobile devices. With different national policies on mitigating the risk of COVID-19 being timed differently in different jurisdictions, TikTok/Douyin has grown in popularity this year for entertainment as well as monetising user content with brand partnerships. A wide variety of consumer brands are including TikTok in their marketing spend, creating a new medium of advertising and selling via influencer marketing.

While traditional media companies produce or license content for distribution, modern social media outlets are benefitting from huge volumes of user-generated content. In recent years, social media channels such as Instagram have revised their product to encourage more content creation – and in doing so, building very strong brand attachments amongst users who are increasingly self-identifying as part of the social media brands.

Huawei overcomes geo-political challenges to increase brand value by 29%

Huawei (brand value up 29% to US$71.2 billion) represents a significant achievement for a Chinese brand, with its brand value surging to become one of the top ten most valuable brands in the world despite antagonism from certain national governments. This global confrontation has limited Huawei’s global market opportunities, but the value of the Huawei brand has increased with an increased investment in both domestic technology companies and R&D, as well as turning its focus to cloud services.

Previously, Huawei primarily produced phones using the Android operating system developed by Google, and forthcoming development of a Chinese-based operating system for mobile devices may lead to significant brand value opportunities for Huawei. This has forced Huawei staff to focus on ensuring stable equipment supply and secure network operations, outside the Google-dominated Android ecosystem.

Beyond its consumer electronics products, Huawei has continued to develop its brand value in business infrastructure and associated markets. This investment is reflected in increased spending on research and development, which has now reached over 22% of total revenue and delivering one of the largest patent portfolios in the world. Huawei’s intellectual property portfolio includes well over 100,000 active patents and was the largest recipient of new patents last year at both the China National Intellectual Property Administration and the European Patent Office.

ICBC is China’s most valuable brand at over US$75 billion

Chinese bank brands have remained strong through the COVID-19 pandemic period, and a significant factor to this success was not only the nation’s timely response to the virus, but also the early and continued investment into digital development, allowing Chinese banks to continue engaging with their customers with relatively little disruption. Over the past year, China’s economy has continued to recover steadily despite a complex and ever-changing domestic and international environment.

This year, ICBC (brand value up 3% to US$75.1 billion) was the most valuable brand in China, and the most valuable banking brand globally.

ICBC now has hundreds of subsidiaries in several dozens countries and regions, serving well over half a billion personal customers and several million corporate clients worldwide. ICBC continues to outshine its competitors, holding a healthy brand value lead ahead of China Construction Bank (up 10% to US$65.5 billion) and Agricultural Bank of China (up 17% to US$62.0 billion), which are the 3rd and 5th most valuable Chinese brands.

BYD brand value doubles in value as electric vehicle market expands

Chinese automobile brands have made great strides and grown strongly this year. BYD (brand value US$6.4 billion) is one of the fastest-growing automobile brands in the world with a doubling of its brand value this year. The brand specialises in electric vehicles, a rapidly growing market in China, and saw sales accelerating 232% in 2021 with -more than 600,000 sold. Haval (brand value US$6.1 billion) is the global automobile sector’s second-fastest growing brand at 55%, but the faster growth of BYD allowed it to overtake Haval in brand value this year.

The increasing popularity and adoption of electric vehicles in China has been a key driver behind the impressive growth for these brands, with China accounting for most electric vehicles sold globally. Several Chinese brands are looking to capitalise on the momentum by expanding their global footprints, with several of these brands launching in Europe in 2021.

Yili jumps 7 places as dairy brand value continues to grow

As China’s most valuable food brand, Yili ranking has improved 7 places from 44th to 37th in China 500. Yili’s brand value has benefited from its multi brand strategy’s success by creating multi sub brand in segmented markets under the umbrella of Yili Master brand. The strategy enabled Yili to map out consumer needs across product category with stratified brand category and brand positioning.

Recently its close association with major events in China such as the Olympic Games and national Chinese priorities relating to nutritition have also contributed to the increase of its brand exposure.

The brand value of Yili is continuing to increase as Chinese markets have improved accessibility to Yili (especially in secondary cities across China) and as Chinese consumers increasingly integrate dairy products to their lifestyle.

Wuliangye achieves 12% brand value growth while brand value of its competitor Moutai 
has decreased

Wuliangye (brand value up 12% to US$28.7 billion) was the standout performer in Spirit sector, achieving very strong brand value growth. Wuliangye increased its ranking by two places to become the 16th most valuable Chinese brand, and with its brand value increase closely correlated with it continuing to become an iconic Chinese lifestyle brand alongside its competitor, Moutai (brand value down 5% to US$42.9 billion).

Wuliangye has been successful in achieving the largest brand value increase among the top tier baijiu brands in the while brand value of its competitor Moutai has decreased. The baijiu brand has been actively incorporating ‘Internationalise Baijiu’ into its corporate brand strategy as a part of China’s One Belt One Road initiatives by engaging in international events including trade expos, the World Economic Forum in Davos and Boao Forum for Asia to name a few. The involvement in such events is to promote Wuliangye’s baijiu culture and actively expand in the international markets.

Li Ning brand value is jumping high as sales increase

Li Ning (brand value up 68% to US$2.0 billion) continues to surge up the rankings of the most valuable Chinese brands, first entering the rankings in 2020 and jumping a further 50 places from 213rd last year to 163rd this year.

Research by Brand Finance has found that the reputation of Li Ning is improving in both awareness and favourability, with an increasing number of consumers becoming familiar with the brand and having better perceptions of the brand. At the same time, Li Ning is leveraging this improved reputation into higher sales, which further improves brand value as more customers integrate Li Ning products into their lifestyle.

Increased investment is correlated with increased State Grid brand value growing past US$60 billion

The largest utilities brands in the world are switching-on to a post-COVID future, led by China’s State Grid (brand value up 9% to US$60.2 billion), which is the 6th most valuable Chinese brand, and the world’s most valuable utilities brand. State Grid remains the world’s most valuable utilities brand for the fifth time in a row.

As the overwhelmingly dominant utilities company in China, State Grid is a powerful brand which considers environmental concerns with a commitment to green energy and achieved net zero carbon emissions for the Winter Olympics 2022.

Fast brand value growth for Guangzhou Pharmaceutical with new strategy

Guangzhou Pharmaceutical (brand value up 42% to US$2.1 billion) remain the second largest pharmaceutical brand in China. The brand benefits from being part of the Guangzhou Pharmaceutical portfolio of brands, which includes twelve China time-honoured brands and ten century-old brands.

For a long time, Guangzhou Pharmaceutical has been deeply engaged in brand building, innovatively implementing the dual-brand strategy in the Chinese domestic market and combining the national well-known brand Baiyunshan with its time-honoured brands to create brands, such as Baiyunshan Chenliji, and Baiyunshan Jingxiutang etc., which in turn have promoted the rapid opening of the national market for branded products.  
In the international market, Guangzhou Pharmaceutical has put forward the concept of modernisation and internationalisation of traditional Chinese medicine at the beginning of this century.

In recent years, Guangzhou Pharmaceutical has strengthened its cooperation with Fortune 500 companies through the World Economic Forum, Boao Forum and other international conferences.

CPIC achieves marginal brand value growth in tough time for insurance

CPIC (brand value up 2% to US$15.8 billion) was able to increase its brand value marginally in a tough year for insurance. Affected by the COVID-19 resurgence, associated economic slow-downs, and mounting pressure on the insurance industry more generally, CPIC endured in the face of these competing pressures.

The integrated communication in 30th anniversary promoted the brand image to glow with new vitality. The cooperation of major activities such as the Chinese women's volleyball team and the Hangzhou Asian Games has improved the customer identity, and the new pattern of reputation management has created a good external environment for the development of the brand.

Pinduoduo brand value surges as brand saturates market

Similarly, Pinduoduo (brand value up 58% to US$9.9 billion) continues to grow strongly in brand value, improving 22 places from being the 63rd most valuable Chinese brand last year, to 41st overall this year. Pinduoduo is a mobile-only marketplace connecting agricultural producers with consumers and has become the default option in its current market.

This creates great value for the brand, but as it is such a dominant operator which has reached saturation across the nation, the opportunity for future growth is constrained. Consequently, the company is seeking to invest in research and development opportunities to serve their users better.

Newly ranked JD Logistics innovates in supply chain sector

Chinese supply chain and logistics provider JD Logistics (brand value up 15% to US$4.1 billion) is a new entrant into the Brand Finance China 500 ranking, making it the 90th most valuable brand in China. The brand recently acquired Deppon Express, a trucking and warehouse management service provider in the Chinese market to increase its logistical network and infrastructure.

Despite severe supply chain disruptions over the pandemic, JD Logistics grew considerably and announced its IPO in 2021 as a spin-off from the brand. The brand invested in cutting-edge technology and research to roll out an automated delivery service offering in selected cities in China. JD Logistics carry out deliveries in rural areas using new technology such as self-driving trucks and aerial drones.

Additionally, the brand is also focussing on ESG projects including establishing China’s first carbon-neutral logistics industrial park which aims to provide carbon-neutral operations by lowering energy consumption.

A few segments of the industrial park will be powered by solar energy for lighting. JD Logistics is also making the supply chain more sustainable by employing green warehousing, reusable packaging and the usage of renewable energy.

CNBM achieves fast brand value growth as global demand for materials increases

CNBM (brand value up 17% to US$8.3 billion), the Chinese National Building Materials Group, has achieved fast brand value growth this year, improving their ranking nine places from 57th to become the 48th most valuable Chinese brand.

The materials group has benefited from increased demand for its products despite the prospect of rising interest rates across the world. The huge fiscal transfers from various governments to citizens, at the same time as many areas of the service economy have been suppressed, has caused many people across the world to invest in improved living arrangements. As a huge material supplier brand, CNBM is very well positioned to benefit from this macro change, with the brand supplying very large volumes of cement, concrete, plasterboard and concrete.

Looking ahead, CNBM is also in a strong position to leverage its brand into the provision of material for construction of wind turbine blades, with 38,000 scientific researchers playing a key role in ensuring that CNBM is able to meet customer needs. The CNBM brand has also been enhanced by strong political support for its endeavours.

PetroChina brand value subsides amidst low carbon disruption

PetroChina (brand value down 6% to US$29.7 billion). As one of China’s largest oil and gas producers and suppliers, PetroChina is committed to be a world-leading integrated international energy company built to last. The buy low sell high on imported crude oil has brought PetroChina fines and potential brand damages at the start of the year . While the brand is attempting to accelerate green and low-carbon transformation, it has delivered continued growth in crude oil output while also rapidly increasing the volume of its gas extraction and sales.