News / Economy

Emerging Markets Storm Top 100 Global Brand Ranking

A man stands near Apple's iPad advertisement in Shanghai, China, Jan. 26, 2011
A man stands near Apple's iPad advertisement in Shanghai, China, Jan. 26, 2011

The American company Apple is the world’s most valuable brand, according to new data published Monday.  Apple beat the Internet giant Google to the top spot, and according to the rankings, emerging markets are also storming ahead.  

Peter Walshe is Global Director of BrandZ, which ranks the world’s most valuable brands.  He points out the progress emerging markets have made in recent years.

“If you look five years ago, 2006, when we started the rankings, there were only two brands from China in the top 100, whereas now there are 19 from the BRIC countries and Mexico.  So they count for nearly one-fifth in terms of number of brands.”

Brazilian energy company Petrobras ranked number 61, India’s ICICI Bank number 53, and China’s largest search engine Baidu came in at 29.

Experts says Africa’s economy is growing fast - and may grow faster even than China over the next seven years.  The continent has some 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land and 100 companies have revenues greater than $1 billion.

But no African company made it to this year’s list of top 100 brands.

Walshe says there is still a way to go for Africa because the size and value of its market is considerably behind places like India and China.  But he says the consumer base in Africa is growing fast, and some overseas companies are benefiting.

"We see Africa as an area where brands are doing particularly well," he said. "So, for example, Standard Chartered Bank is the top U.K.-owned brand, and that has had a staggering rise of 45 percent and a great deal of that rise is to do with its activity in Africa."

Dawda Jobarteh, acting director of the Geneva-based Africa Progress Panel, says some African sectors are making major headway.  He says mobile phone-based money transfer systems are an example of innovation that is coming out of Africa.

"If you look at things like M-PESA in eastern Africa in the mobile banking system and financial services attached to that, they are the innovators in that field across the entire world," he said.

But he says business in Africa is still held back in many ways.  Strong leadership, he says, is needed to push African companies into the top 100.

"There are other companies that are constantly hindered by government regulation - over- or under-regulation - or the many obstacles and challenges that are faced on the continent," he said.  "Infrastructure and governance, those are probably the two largest breaks on Africa's development - both social, economic and political."

Technology brands made up one-third of the top 100 companies.  Apple came in number one, ousting Google from a four-year run in the top spot.

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