Special Report

The Most Powerful Chinese Brands

Americans are often concerned about how Chinese economic growth and the rise of major Chinese businesses could impact U.S. interests. With the People’s Republic expected to pass the United States in gross domestic product sometime in the next two to three decades, reports about Chinese currency manipulation, protective trade practices and pirating of U.S. products and services are even more worrisome.

Many of the very large companies in China were started by the government or were initially joint ventures between the government and private enterprise. This means the government has had a hand in building companies that often compete directly with U.S. businesses. Many Americans are not familiar with the Chinese companies — their names or what they do. But, as might be expected, for almost every large corporation in the U.S. there are one or more counterparts in China.

Click here to see China’s 10 most powerful brands

Brand valuation is one way to peg the most important companies in China. The largest brand consultancy firms — Interbrand and BrandZ — measure global U.S. brands and Chinese brands. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the most valuable Chinese brands and matched them to their U.S. counterparts to show not only the businesses that drive the Chinese economy, but also the extent to which these are similar to the biggest businesses in America.

The most valuable brands in China and the United States fall into very few categories. Financial firms is one category. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) are among the largest American companies. Four of the most valuable brands in China are also banks.

Telecom is another category, with telcos among the largest in America based on sales and brand values. The most valuable brand in China belongs to China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL), the country’s largest cellular provider, with more than 710 million customers. Verizon Wireless, the largest in the U.S., has 98.2 million subscribers.

U.S. Internet companies such as Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) are among the most valuable brands in America. Among the most valuable brands in China are Baidu.com Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU), the largest search engine in the country, and Tencent, the Chinese versions of Twitter.

Some industries, such as car brands, have high brand values in the United States and throughout the world but do not have Chinese counterparts. Chinese car companies have virtually no exports. China also has no massive software companies resembling Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) or International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM). For the time being it relies on U.S. or Europe for these kinds of products.

In order to identify China’s 10 most valuable brands, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the most recent lists of the top Chinese brands, as compiled by brand valuation firms BrandZ and Interbrand. Based on those two lists, we identified the 10 brands that were consistently the highest ranked. In addition to our rank, we reviewed company financials from corporate filings. When possible, we also compared these companies to American companies in similar industries and with similar brand ranking in the United States.

These are the most powerful Chinese brands.