Seven brands entered the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands for the first time in 2017, and two brands returned after an absence of several years. The brands came from seven categories, with retail and apparel represented twice. The other categories are: banks, cars, home appliances, technology, and travel agencies.
The diversity of categories illustrates opportunity across the economy, even as it rebalances from production to consumption. The two brands that returned to the ranking demonstrate resilience and the potential for strong brands to rebound even after being hurt by market forces.
Semir, a maker of casual clothing, reappeared in the BrandZÔ China Top 100 after an absence of several years when the apparel category was suffering from overstoring, excess inventory, and global competition. Semir markets an extensive range of children’s clothing, under the brand Balabala, which was an important revenue driver for the company. Semir continued to expand overseas.
The rise of e-commerce initially hurt consumer electronics retailer Gome, which operates over 1,800 bricks and mortar stores. The brand returned to the ranking for the first time since 2014, having strengthened its online business and developed a complementary offline and online (O2O) presence.
Several qualities characterize the brands that joined the BrandZÔ China Top 100 for the first time. These brands have identified and responded to consumer needs, often needs that are related to the lifestyle aspirations of the rising middle class. And the brands met these needs in ways that differentiated them from the competition. Specifically:
Vip.com Vip.com is an online discount retailer of branded merchandise. Known for its daily flash sales, Vip.com offers a broad selection of branded products at deeply discounted prices, available only in limited quantity and for a short period of time. This value-for-money proposition aims to meet the Chinese consumer’s desire to enhance quality of life. The brand also has combined e-commerce with social media and TV programs, launching several content marketing and product placement initiatives.
China CITIC Bank In a similar combination of e-commerce and social media, China CITIC Bank joined Baidu, the giant search engine brand, to open China’s first direct bank, Baixin Bank. The combined entity is expected to leverage the banking expertise of CITIC with the online capabilities and reach of Baidu. This year, for the first time, China CITIC Bank met the BrandZÔ China Top 100 eligibility requirement that retail banking comprise at least 20 percent of earnings.
iQiyi Consumer interest in video, and the burgeoning phenomenon of live streaming, drove the growth of newcomer iQiyi. Founded in 2010, iQiyi is primarily owned by Baidu, which has announced plans for an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
Heilan Home Heilan Home is a major menswear brands that began in smaller Chinese cities and expanded to cities of all sizes throughout China, maintaining growth with aggressive store expansion and supply chain efficiency improvements.
Caissa The strength of the travel business in part explains the presence of travel agency Caissa among the newcomers. Most important, Caissa identified and serves an emerging niche market of consumers who desire a more premium travel experience, beyond traditional tour groups.
Geely SUV popularity, and the introduction of new models, drove the strong sales performance of Geely, which entered the BrandZÔ China Top 100 for the first time. Geely also benefited from its ongoing consolidation of three brands and sales networks in to a single Geely brand.
Vatti Benefiting from the middle-class lifestyle interest in kitchen small appliances Vatti, a maker of range hoods, microwaves and other small appliances, appeared in the ranking for the first time, at Number 99.