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Tencent and Alibaba Top List of China's Most Valuable Brands

Many of the country’s top companies play a key role in the digital ad business

China’s fast-paced economy has helped create a number of massive consumer brands with growing market clout. Technology giants Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu—often referred to as the BAT companies—are typically ranked among the world’s most valuable based on metrics like brand value and share of worldwide digital ad revenues.

Top 10 Brands in China, Ranked by Brand Value, 2017 (billions and % change)

According to a March 2017 report by Kantar Millward Brown, Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu rank among the top five most valuable brands in China. The report, which measured brand value using a forecast of each company’s future earnings and growth potential, placed Tencent at No. 1 thanks to a 2017 brand value of $106.18 billion. Alibaba came in second in terms of brand value ($58.01 billion), while Baidu had the fifth highest brand value at $23.89 billion.

Net Digital Ad Revenue Share Worldwide, by Company, 2016-2019 (% of total and billions)

Many of the brands in Kantar Millward Brown’s list came from the telecom, banking, retail or technology sectors. Alibaba, for example, attributes much of its success to its ecommerce platform. But many of the top brands on this China-specific list also recognize a significant share of their revenues from sources like digital advertising.

In fact, eMarketer’s 2017 estimates of the top companies worldwide ranked by net digital ad revenue share bears this out. It’s no surprise that Google and Facebook still control the lion’s share of digital ad revenues, with a combined 49.2% of the worldwide market in 2017. But China’s Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent come in third, fourth and fifth, respectively, accounting for 15% of net digital ad revenues worldwide this year.

As long as consumer incomes in China continue to grow, and the country’s companies maintain their marketing push to reach them, it seems likely these three digital behemoths will remain important players in China’s digital economy.

Jeremy Kressmann

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