The Most Popular American Brands In China

1. General Motors
> Market share: 14.7% (2012)
> Industry: Auto manufacturers
> Competition: Toyota, Volkswagen

General Motors has had the largest market share in China of any foreign auto manufacturer going back nearly a decade. The company has access to the Chinese auto market primarily through its multiple joint ventures. One of these is Shanghai GM, co-owned with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group (SAIC). The venture, currently 50% owned by GM, sells Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac models. In all, according to GM China, the company and its partners sold a total of more than 2.8 million cars in 2012. By comparison, GM sold just under 2.6 million cars in the U.S. last year. Recently, GM announced it was building a $1.3 billion plant in China to produce Cadillacs in order to improve luxury sales.

2. Apple
> Market share: 83% (fourth quarter, 2012)
> Industry: Electronic Equipment
> Competition: Samsung, Microsoft

Apple dominates the tablet market in the world’s most populous country. Umeng Analytics Platform reported that in the last quarter of 2012 Apple’s iPad and iPad mini accounted for 83% of all tablet sales. Several of Apple’s major suppliers operate in China, including Foxconn, which has been criticized for its poor working conditions for years. The developments in the Chinese operations of the company’s suppliers are often used as fodder for speculation on future Apple product releases. Most recently, plans by Apple supplier Pegatron to ramp up hiring in China by 40% have fueled rumors about a low-cost iPhone.

Also Read: America’s Most Popular Stores

3. Nike
> Market share: 12.1%
> Industry: Apparel footwear and accessories
> Competition: Adidas, Reebok

At the end of 2012, Nike still had the largest sportswear market share of any company in China, somewhat of a loose term at 12.1%. But recently, Germany’s Adidas has also emerged as a major player in China, picking up market share despite the efforts of Chinese brands such as Li-Ning — which recently signed NBA star Dwyane Wade as a representative. Nike’s sales and bottom line have benefitted from its popularity in China. In fiscal 2012, Nike’s revenue and earnings in its Greater China segment rose by 23% and 17%, respectively, from the year before, totalling over $2.5 billion and $900 million, respectively. Nike has also had to deal with the differences and problems of operating in China. Michael Jordan, who partners with Nike to market its Jordan Brand sneakers, has accused Chinese company Qiaodan Sports Co. of using his name without permission.

4. Starbucks
> Market share: 61%
> Industry: Specialty eateries
> Competition: McDonald’s, Pacific Coffee

The world’s largest coffee retailer opened its first store in mainland China in Beijing in 1998. At the last annual shareholders meeting, according to the China Post, the company had in excess of 800 locations in nearly 60 cities in the country. In the release of the company’s fiscal 2012, company CEO Howard Schultz said, “It’s no doubt that one day China will become our second-largest market after the U.S. and it’s possible that, over many years, potentially the largest one.” Starbucks plans to more than double its headcount in the Asia Pacific region as a whole in the next five years to more than 40,000. The company’s closest competitor by coffee sales is McDonald’s. According to the China Post, however, Starbucks’ company’s presence has diminished somewhat, and Chinese companies like the Pacific Coffee Company are setting their sights on the No. 1 slot.

5. Microsoft Windows
> Market share: 91% in desktop operating systems
> Industry: Application software
> Competition: Kylin (Canonical), Apple, Google

Microsoft has a commanding market share of more than 91% in desktop operating systems in China, according to NetMarketshare. However, the company may face competition in the future, threatening its massive lead in software sales. The Chinese government has worked on an operating system with software firm Canonical. The new OS, called Kylin, was released in April. The BBC noted that the move is regarded as “an attempt by China to wean its IT sector off Western software in favour of more home-grown alternatives.” Microsoft has pushed its Surface tablet hard in China, offering it there even before the U.S. However, the company has been criticized for not providing a two-year warranty for the tablet.