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Aug 14, 2013
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Brand awareness: the top international brands in China

Published
Aug 14, 2013

Despite the slowdown in China’s economy, international businesses and brands continue to covet a role catering to China and its middle class. To learn which of these brands appeal most to Chinese consumers, the BBC asked Millward Brown to compile a ranking of the 20 strongest foreign brands in China. From 2011 to 2013, the research and strategic consulting firm specialized in communications and branding surveyed 60,000 people in ten Chinese cities, analyzing in particular spontaneous name recognition of international brands.

Photo: AFP.


At the head of the ranking comes fast food chain KFC, followed by Pampers (part of Proctor&Gamble, which has several brands in the ranking) and Colgate (Colgate/Palmolive Company). The highest-ranking French company is Carrefour, in tenth place, while L’Oréal makes the list at slot number 15.

Health and beauty brands (Pampers, Colgate, Crest, Pantene, Gillette, L’Oréal, Head&Shoulders, etc.) represent half of the ranked companies. Two sports brands are included, with Adidas placing fourteenth and Nike coming in seventeenth. Fashion finally makes the cut with Armani (Group Giorgio Armani), which rounds out the list.

The study indicates that even if price remains the priority for Chinese consumers, the tarnished reputation of Chinese products over the past three years has benefited the international brands. Millward Brown also notes that the brands enjoying the most success with the Chinese public are those that have a long-established presence in the country. This includes KFC, which arrived in 1987, opening two restaurants a day in China, and Nike, in business there since 1981. Finally, one of the keys to success is knowing how to adapt not only to national traits but also to regional and local differences.

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