TOKYO -- Chinese internet giant Tencent broke into the list of the top 10 "most valuable" global brands, backed by the huge popularity of its WeChat mobile app, according to a ranking released this week by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown.
Tencent placed eighth in the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2017 ranking, making it the only non-American brand in the top 10. A total of 24 brands from the Asia-Pacific region made it into the top 100, with 13 from China. Alibaba was 14th, search engine company Baidu 39th and smartphone maker Huawei 49th.
"China's phenomenal transformation from imitators to innovators has been much lauded," the report said. "We are in awe of the scale, popularity and commerciality of BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent)," it added.
Now in its 12th year, the ranking measures brand value based on a combination of interviews with over 3 million consumers on more than 100,000 brands in over 50 markets, and analysis of each company's business and financial performance.
"Increasingly, established brands in Asia are becoming emerging brands in the West," the report said.
Of Chinese manufacturer Huawei, for example, the report said "it is just becoming well-known as a maker of smartphones to rival those of Apple and Samsung. Chinese smartphone brands Xiaomi and Oppo are also gaining attention outside of China."
Besides Chinese brands, 11 other Asia-Pacific names made the list, led by Japan's Toyota, at No. 30. Japanese telecommunications providers NTT and SoftBank came in at 50th and 95th, respectively.
South Korea's Samsung came at 37th, while Hong Kong's insurance AIA was 97th.
The top five spots went to U.S. technology giants Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. North American brands saw the biggest collective increase in brand value, with the region's top 10 brands logging 12% growth to $1.4 trillion.
Asia was next, with the brand value of the top 10 expanding 9% to $391.1 billion. Europe's top 10 brands saw a 4% rise. Tech brands drove the increase for Asia, with Tencent's value jumping 27% and Samsung's climbing 23%.
Chinese baijiu "white liquor" company Moutai saw the second-biggest increase in brand value, with its 48% surge trailing only Adidas' 58% rise.