While China Mobile claims the number one spot again, there are some shifts in the top 10 this year, including new entrant Agricultural Bank, making its debut at number seven. The Best China Brands 2012 report also sees new entrants, sector shifts and the dramatic exit of three brands because of significant damage to brand value from safety scandals.
Pharmaceutical company 999, Yuron Food and Shineway, which all exit the list in 2012, were mired in product safety scandals, doing serious damage to their Brand Strength Scores. Shineway’s profits, for example, suffered steep declines at more than 50%.
The departure of these formerly Best China Brands leaves Yunnan Baiyo as the only pharmaceutical company in the top 50 and Mengniu as the only food sector brand. Both of these brands saw their positions shift on the list with Mengniu moving from #38 in 2011 to #41 in 2012 and Yunnan Baiyo shifting from #27 to #28.
Banks dominate the Top 10 again, with Agricultural Bank coming in as a strong new entry. Thanks to the large state-owned bank going public in 2010, examination of its financials is now possible.
Banking as a whole maintained higher income and profit growth than other industries, with 12 bank brands in the top 50. Bank of Beijing, however, exited the list this year. The brand saw healthy growth, but other brands on the list outperformed it.
Also new to the list this year are leaders in the alcohol sector, Yanghe Blue Classic at #24 and Xinghuacun Fenjiu at #46. Seven of the top 50 brands are alcohol companies.
Another newcomer is Xtep at #45. With a diversified product offering, celebrity endorsements and varied positioning, Xtep brings the total sporting goods brands on the list to five. Overall it was a challenging year for sporting goods brands, though. Li Ning saw a 41% decline in brand value and dropped ten spots on the list, from #29 in 2011 to #39 in 2012.
Insurance and securities brands took big hits this year. Insurance brand Taiping, for example, saw a 29% decrease in brand value and dropped from the #28 spot in 2011 to #34 in 2012. China Merchant Securities saw a 27% decline in brand value and dropped eight spots from #30 to #38.
The tech sector held steady with China Mobile in the top spot and internet services brand Tencent remaining in the top 10. Well-known electronics company Haier moved up four spots, enjoying a 25% increase in brand value. Internet services brand Ctrip, however, suffered a six spot loss with a decrease in brand value of 27%.
With fierce competition between top brands, safety scandals and a slowing economy, it was a difficult year for many brands. What made the difference for brands that succeeded this year was staying nimble, responsiveness to market changes and continuous innovation.
Amy Edel-Vaughn is Interbrand's Community Manager.