China is continuing its rise as a technology powerhouse, with Tencent becoming the first Chinese brand to top the $100 billion mark, according to a ranking of the most valuable brands in the country.
Tencent, owner of messaging app WeChat, is valued at $106.2 billion and ranks as China's most valuable brand, says the annual BrandZ listing compiled by advertising agency WPP and Kantar Millward Brown. It has gained more than $24 billion in value, or 29 percent, since 2016.
E-commerce giant Alibaba is next on the Chinese ranking, with a brand value rising 22 percent to just over $58 billion, a $10 billion increase on last year. It overtakes China Mobile to the second spot. Meanwhile, social network Baidu ranks fifth, with a valuation of $23.9 billion – down 11 percent on last year.
Chinese technology brands are becoming more powerful globally. When BrandZ's global ranking was published in June 2016, Facebook's brand value was $102.6 billion. And while Facebook's value may change when this year's global ranking is published, Tencent's current value of $106.2 billion suggests that it is now competing on a global scale.
Chinese tech goes global
While Facebook is banned in China, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, known as the BAT, are heavily investing in U.S. start-ups. The BAT, as well as e-commerce company JD.com, invested $5.6 billion in 48 tech deals in the U.S. over the past two years, according to data from CBI Insights.
Deepender Rana, Kantar Insight's Greater China chief executive, expects the country to increase its competition with multinational companies.
"With China emerging as a technology powerhouse, it is fitting that in Tencent we have the first brand from China to break the $100 billion brand value barrier," he said in an emailed statement.
"The Brand Power - which tests consumer inclination to select a given brand - of Chinese brands continues to grow and for the first time has started to surpass that of multinational rival brands. We expect this trend to accelerate in future years."
BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands combines past company earnings, forecast earnings and research with around 400,000 consumers in China.
BrandZ's 10 most valuable Chinese brands 2017