Chinese brands are quickly replacing once-coveted international brands like Apple and Nike in the world’s most populous country. According to a new survey by consultancy Prophet, Chinese brands now take up 30 of the 50 spots, with Alipay, owned by an Alibaba Group, at the top.
"Companies who used to be perceived as followers of international leaders have redefined themselves as a group of new homegrown heroes," the new report said. "Through continuous tangible innovation they are outpacing their international peers, winning the hearts of Chinese consumers and catching attention from the broader world."
This is a monumental change from two years ago when only 18 local names made it to the list. The survey asked 13,000 Chinese consumers to rank brands that are innovative, pragmatic, customer-focused and inspirational.
In some of China’s biggest cities, the allure of Apple is fading, points Benoit Garbe, a Prophet senior partner in Shanghai. The California-based company has struggled as domestic rivals like Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi rise in popularity.
Among other big Western brands being booted off the list are Nike, BMW, Estee Lauder, and IKEA.
“It’s clear to be successful, brands need more than just size and ubiquity. They must create a product that people love enough to integrate into their everyday lives,” said Scott Davis, Prophet’s chief growth officer.
The rest of top 10 this year are tech brands, including Alibaba’s online shopping sites Taobao at No. 6 and Tmall at No. 10 respectively. Both the brands were heavily praised by Chinese millennials for their innovative shopping experience. In comparison, half of the top spots were taken by international brands like BMW and Nike. Android was the only Western brand returning to its sweet spot among Prophet’s top 10 from last year. It was joined by Microsoft at No. 5 and Intel at no. 7. Swedish home furnishings retailer IKEA, fourth on last year’s list, didn’t make it among the top 30 this time.
The top 10 companies in the 2018 Prophet Brand Relevance Index are: Alipay, Android, WeChat, Huawei, Microsoft, Taobao, Intel, Meituan, QQ and Tmall.