Pandemic push young firms into China's top 100 brands
By Chen Tong

Emerging Chinese firms that found opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic debuted in an annual list of the top 100 most valuable China brands, released Thursday.

China's internet conglomerates still unsurprisingly led the annual list, with Alibaba and Tencent, along with Chinese alcohol baijiu conglomerate Moutai remaining in the top three positions.

But this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that required social distancing, some newcomers were pushed into the ranks. The short-video app Douyin joined the list for the very first time at the 14th place. Others, such as e-commerce app Pinduoduo, short video app Kuaishou and online real estate app Beike, also made the rankings.

Kantar China CEO & Brand Z President Doreen Wang told CGTN that the pandemic expedited some of these brands' growth.

"Brands like Pinduoduo, Douyin have laid a strong foundation through their customized brand experience and consumers, especially teenagers, even feel addicted and super engaged with the platform. And that foundation plus COVID-19 expedited brand value growth," said Wang.

Both e-commerce sensation Pinduoduo and short video platform Douyin saw a surge in their businesses due to the COVID-19 distancing policies. 

The rankings — measured by both company size and consumer feedback — are published by British communications services group WPP and consultant group Kantar.

List shows growth of Chinese brands

The group released a list of the top 100 brands globally in June, with China firms showing an increasingly prominent presence. Now 17 Chinese companies are in the global top 100, adding another 2 compared with last year.

Chinese firms are said to be getting increasingly good at operating internationally, so good they're replacing European firms on the list.

Ogilvy Asia & Greater China Chris Reitermann said Chinese brands are becoming increasingly globalized.

"They can take a lot of the earnings they have from China and then transplant them into other markets. Chinese brands are becoming increasingly globalized in their ambitions and they increasingly understand how to navigate global markets," he said.

The top 100 Chinese firms jumped in value by 12 percent this year — increasing their worth to reach $996.4 billion — despite the world's economic fluctuations from the pandemic. It has been 10 years since the Top 100 China Brands ranking was first released, and in that time the share price growth of listed firms among the Top 100 was triple that of the MSCI China index.