WeChat, the China-based internet platform, has registered a staggering 1540 percent brand value growth over the past five years to emerge as the world’s fastest-growing brand, according to a report.
Tencent-owned WeChat started as a chat application before broadening its functionality as a social media and payments platform. Its value has grown from $3,092 million in 2014 to $50,707 million this year to top the inaugural brand valuation list compiled by consultancy firm Brand Finance.
Since its inception as a chat application in 2011, WeChat has diversified its offerings gradually to emerge as a platform that a majority of Chinese internet users cannot do without. Its dominance across a broad range of services has been a model that several apps in India have attempted but have fared poorly in comparison.
Paytm, which began as a payment platform, branched into an e-commerce platform but success has eluded the Noida-based startup beyond its core offering. WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned chat platform, has faced a series of obstacles in its attempts to offer payment services in India.
WeChat, however, hasn’t been successful in its attempts to break into markets other than China.
“WeChat has successfully entrenched itself in Chinese society, a feat unmatched by any other brand”, said Alex Haigh, valuation director, Brand Finance. “However, despite attempts to launch in the Western world, the brand has failed to gain a strong foothold in the market, against stiff competition from incumbents, such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
“Now the Chinese economy is starting to stall, it raises the question whether Chinese brands can match domestic growth internationally,” he added.
Overall, China and the United States dominate the world’s top 100 fastest-growing brands with 39 companies each. However, the Asian powerhouse has cannibalised the top ten list with eight companies, including each of the top four. The leader WeChat is followed by property developers Country Garden and Evergrande Group, in second and third respectively, while game developer NetEase rounds of an all-China top four.
The Chinese hegemony is broken by the world’s leading social media platform Facebook, which sits fifth with a brand value of $83,202 million. German carmaker Porsche is the only entry from Europe in the top ten and occupies sixth spot.
The controversial telecommunications firm Huawei, which has been the subject of much debate across the globe about the security of data on its platform and China’s control over it, came in eighth on the list with 614 percent growth over the past five years with a value of $62,278 million.
Moreover, two of every three companies in the top 30 list is China based.
The value of leading brands
The Chinese firms have also trumped their American counterparts in value, accounting for a colossus 48 percent of the total brand value.
Their total value amounts to a staggering $856.8 billion, a combined worth enough to place it 17th in the list of top global economies by gross domestic product (GDP), sandwiched between the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia.
The US companies, on the other hand, account for 40 percent of the total value with $727.3 billion. That would place a combined entity of the 39 American companies 20th on the list of world’s leading economies, edging out Switzerland from the top 20.
First Published: IST