Google Tops Apple as World’s Most Valuable Brand

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A search product has passed a predominantly hardware product to become the world’s most valuable brand. In a new study, Google, owned by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), had a brand value of $302 billion, compared to Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) $301 billion. No other brand was even close.

The analysis is from global brand consultancy BrandZ.

The third and fourth brand values were also almost tied. Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) had a brand valuation of $208 billion to Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) $201 billion. Rounding out the top 10, China’s Tencent’s valuation was $179 billion, followed by Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) at $162 billion, Visa Inc. at (NYSE V) at $146 billion, McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) at $126 billion, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) at $113 billion and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) at $106 billion. No other brand value topped $100 billion.

BrandZ commented on the rise of Chinese companies:

This was the first year non-US brands grew faster than US brands.  Fourteen Chinese brands appear in the Top 100 ranking compared to just one (ChinaMobile) in 2006. The total value of China’s Top 10 grew year-on-year by +47%, more than double that of the US brands (+23%).

Among the top 20 brands with surges in valuation, Amazon was up 45%, Tencent by 65% and Alibaba by 92%.

Among the top 20 global brands, several lost ground in terms of valuation. AT&T fell 7%. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was down 6% to $96 billion, and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) lost 5% to $85 billion. Marlboro and Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE WFC) each lost 6%, to $82 billion and $55 billion, respectively.

The brand that lost the most value was troubled General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), which was down 22% to $39 billion.

The combined value of the top 100 rose 21% to $4.4 trillion, which means that Google and Apple represented 14% of the total.

Brandz’s methodology is opaque:

A BrandZ™ ranking of brand valuations lists the brands making the largest absolute $ contribution to the total value of their respective parent companies, considering both current and projected performance. This is the true value of brand building and we want to isolate and reward the brands making the largest contributions to the success of their parent companies. A company may have huge overall business value but the absolute $ contribution made by the relevant brand(s) that the company owns may not be a comparatively large figure – at least not a large enough figure to qualify for the given BrandZ™ ranking of brand values.