Alipay, Huawei, Android take lead for brand relevancy as Chinese consumers further embrace tech

Chinese consumers are becoming more besotted with tech brands in 2019, according to the Prophet Brand Relevance Index. The index has revealed that among the country's top ten brands, seven were tech companies.

The 2019 results of the top 10 most relevant brands rated by Chinese consumers are,

  1. Alipay

  2. Huawei

  3. Android

  4. DJI

  5. WeChat

  6. Bilibili

  7. Xiaomi

  8. China CITIC Bank

  9. Intel

  10. Audi

Over half of all brands (56%) in the top 50 fell into media, tech, electronics, and gaming, social media and internet services.

Other than the rankings, the index has also uncovered several key findings among Chinese consumers. For example, they showed amplified national pride as local heroes such as Huawei, DJI, and Li-Ning have all made it into the list of top 50 brands.

[caption id="attachment_273363" align="alignnone" width="681"] Top 50 brands in China[/caption]

They are also signs of enduring pragmatism, as Chinese consumers remain attracted to international companies whose brands continue to deepen their roles in the daily lives of Chinese consumers. This year, international brands secured 25 of the top 50 spots in the ranking, as compared to 20 in 2018. Brands such as Android, Microsoft, and Intel were all ranked in the top 25 this year.

While Chinese consumers are embracing technology, they are also looking for technology-driven experiences that enrich their lives. The best example in this year's index is Huawei, as respondents thought that the brand “engages with me in new and creative ways.”Huawei has also become synonymous with 5G innovation to Chinese consumers. Other than consumer devices such as high-end smartphones, the company also maintains strategic partnerships with automobile giants Audi and BMW to launch 5G-powered products.

Customers in lower-tier cities in China are now looking for innovations rather than following the trends in big cities. For example, Dyson's sales have grown significantly in lower-tier cities compared to tier-one cities, while Hainan Airlines has deployed continental routes from tier-two airports to international destinations in recent years.

Though technology is the key to success, combining online to offline is a way to get closer to customers. For instance, Taobao held an annual Maker Festival, a mega event that serves as a platform for storefronts to share concepts and products directly with consumers. Another e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu has also expanded its offline presence by opening two ‘RED Home’ stores that serve as an experiential place for the social community to meet offline.

"The China Brand Relevance Index has cemented the idea of 'consumer-led', showing changes in the needs of Chinese consumers and the role that brands play in their lives," said Xu Feifei, associate partner of Prophet.

The Brand Relevance Index was generated from direct consumer feedback, which uncovered critical differences and insights for brands' development and innovation. The 2019 Index incorporated brand evaluations from over 13,000 Chinese consumers, across 250 brands from around 30 industries.