Consumer Products

Apple, Nokia, Sony Top Asian Brand List (AAPL, NOK, SNE,CL, KO, HMC, TM, GOOG, MCD, MSFT, AMZN, SSNLF, NKE, DIS, YHOO)

Among the more developed countries of Asia — China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan — the top global brand is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) in three and trails only a local brand in South Korea. In the less developed countries — India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam — the leading global brand in three is Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), which is second only to Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) in Thailand.

The results come from a new survey of the eight countries conducted by Japan’s Nikkei BP Consulting. Other top brands in India include Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL) and Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO). In Indonesia, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC), Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM), and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) are among the top five. In Thailand, McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) joins Sony, Nokia, and Honda in the top five and in Vietnam the top global brands are Nokia, Honda, Sony, and Google.

Among more developed countries, China’s top global brands are Apple, Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Nokia. In Japan, the top five includes Apple, Google, Sony, and Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). South Korea’s top five includes Apple, Samsung (OTC: SSNLF.PK), and Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE). The Taiwanese list includes Apple, Sony, HTC Corp., Google, and Walt Disney Inc. (NYSE: DIS). Yahoo! Inc. shows up in the top ten brands in Japan and Taiwan, but in no other countries.

Some observations:

  • Apple is pretty clearly the leading global brand among the more developed countries, although it does not appear among the top ten in the less-developed nations. The issue is whether or not Apple will try to change that by attacking the Indian and Indonesian markets.
  • Nokia may be struggling, but the company’s brand power in India and Indonesia, each with a population of more than 1 billion people, suggests that if the Finnish giant can deliver a low-priced smartphone it has a chance to make a big noise in the industry again.
  • No US carmaker is among the top ten brands in any of the eight countries. Not a good sign.
  • Google does not appear among the top ten brands in China. The company’s troubles with the government have had a punishing effect, and Google may end up writing off China.
  • Sony, another company suffering from a variety of ills, continues to be included in the top 10 in 7 of the 8 countries surveyed (only South Korea leaves Sony out). For Sony that could mean that it might have to consider moving its brand down the scale a bit to take advantage of its strength in the less-developed nations.
  • Yahoo’s strength in Japan is well-established and may be the most valuable asset the struggling company has.
  • The top brands in China include luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW, probably a sign of aspirational consumption as much as the reality of daily life in China. What the inclusion could mean is that other luxury brands could do well, but at the cost of reducing margins in order to grow brand power.

The full study is available here.

Paul Ausick