Newcomers: 17 brands, a record, join China Top 100
Newcomers add fuller view of fast-changing market
A record 17 brands entered the BrandZ™ China Top 100 for the first time. The newcomer brands come from 11 diverse categories, including four categories new to the ranking: consumer finance, entertainment, lifestyle platform, and transport.
Seven of the newcomer brands rank in the top half of the BrandZ™ China Top 100; three are in the Top 20. These high valuations for newcomers resulted because revised eligibility criteria enabled several unicorn brands to join the ranking. (Please see Methodology for full details.)
The newcomer brands, and the added categories, form a more complete picture of brand development and consumer behavior in China today, especially among young people. And they reflect how the rapid development of technology, particularly smartphones and artificial intelligence, has shaped a distinctive Chinese style of daily living that values extreme convenience.
The newcomer brands also illustrate the high priority the Chinese government assigns to technology leadership, and the growing influence of Chinese technology outside of China. Three of the technology newcomers—Xiaomi, DJI, and UBTECH—also rank in the Top 10 in Overseas Presence. Newcomer Meizu, a smartphone maker, recently introduced a model that it makes and sells in Indonesia.
Technology and lifestyle platform categories dominate the list of newcomers, with four and three brands, respectively. The real estate category accounts for two newcomers. And one newcomer brand appears from each of these categories: transport, consumer finance, entertainment, retail, cars, airlines, education, and home appliances.
Convenience and young people
The convenience phenomenon, and the seamless integration of online and offline purchasing and delivery, is well illustrated by the Top 5 Newcomers. Xiaomi, one of the world’s largest smartphone makers, is investing heavily in artificial intelligence to secure a leadership position in the Internet of Things. And Xiaomi is marketing its own range of smart devices.
Newcomer Didi Chuxing made life more convenient for Chinese consumers with its ride hailing app. It dominates that sector in China, having facilitated Uber’s departure from the Chinese market.
The lifestyle platform Meituan, part of Meituan Dianping, began as a group buying site and today is China’s largest booking site for services, such as reserving a restaurant or renting a bike.
Meanwhile, its sister lifestyle brand, Dianping, (newcomer No. 6) also offers a variety of services, having started as a peer review site, similar to Yelp. Backed by Tencent, Meituan Dianping competes with newcomer Ele.me, a food delivery app owned by Alibaba.
Developed by Ping An, the insurance and financial services giant, the No. 5 newcomer, Lufax, is an online wealth management tool accessible to a broad audience of potential new customers, particularly young people. Also popular with young people, is the entertainment brand Bilibili, which offers online entertainment, including videos and games, and makes the content easy to share. Meizu designs and prices its phones specifically to appeal to young people.
Robotics and tradition
Several brands that specialize in robotics illustrate China’s growing leadership in artificial intelligence and technology, and its international influence. The world’s largest manufacturer of consumer drones, DJI is refining its technology to accelerate expansion into commercial applications.
With new funding, from Tencent and others, UBTECH is advancing its development of humanoid robots. A global leader in robotic vacuum cleaners, ECOVACS is expanding in to other robotic home-related devices.
Using internet technology, VIPKiD is adding a new dimension to English language education in China. It recently raised record funding from Tencent and other investors to expand its online platform that connects over 500,000 students in China with over 60,000 teachers in North America.
Shenzhen Airlines inaugurated its first route from Shenzhen, in southern China, to London. HAVAL is an SUV brand of Great Wall and replaces Great Wall in the ranking. Great Wall is the name of both the parent company and a particular car brand that is lower in value than HAVAL. During a challenging period for the real estate category, the real estate developer Shimao diversified into related businesses, including hotels.