China’s WeChat usurps Ferrari to strongest brand hotspot

By Kate Birch
Homegrown Chinese tech success WeChat has boosted its brand strength over the last year to claim strongest brand top spot in the Global 500 2021 report...

According to the just-released Brand Finance Global 500 2021 report, Chinese messaging platform WeChat has overtaken Italian car brand Ferrari to become the strongest brand in the world for 2021.

Founded by Jack Ma’s tech giant Tencent Holdings, the Chinese messaging social media and ecommerce platform WeChat recently celebrated its 10th birthday. 

Achieving a Brand Strength Index score of 95.4 out of 100 and securing AAA+ brand strength rating, one of just 11 brands in the ranking to have been awarded the elite AAA+ rating in 2021, WeChat delivered “high scores in reputation and consideration among consumers”, according to market research undertaken by the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance.

As well as calculating brand value in its annual report, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands with “brand strength a crucial driver of brand value”.

As WeChat’s brand strength grew over the last year, its brand value also enjoyed a rapid boost, increasing by 25% to US$67.9 billion and jumping nine spots up the ranking to enter the top 10 for the first time ever. 

According to the report, the Chinese mobile app “has successfully implemented a broad and all-encompassing proposition, offering services from messaging and banking, to taxi services and online shopping” and has become “essential to many users’ daily lives”. 

In fact, during the pandemic, WeChat ran a number of government-mandated health code apps to keep track of those travelling or in quarantine, providing access to real-time data on COVID-19, online consultations, and self-diagnosis services powered by artificial intelligence to over 300 million users

The report, which assesses the most valuable and strongest global brands, this year saw the list dominated by US and Chinese brands, jointly accounting for two-thirds of total brand value of the world’s 500 most valuable brands. 

Chinese brands make strong showing

According to the report for 2021, Chinese brands accounted for 20% of total brand value boasting a cumulative brand value of US$1.4 trillion, with eight Chinese brands in the top 10 brand value spots for 2021. 

Unsurprisingly, retail-giant has made huge brand value leaps in the last year, seeing its brand boosted by 108% to US$39.2 billion, making it the second-fastest growing brand in the ranking behind Tesla.

Chinese brand dominance was seen in banking, tech, ecommerce and real estate, in particular. The country’s most valuable brand, multinational Chinese banking company ICBC, maintained its position in the top 10 of world’s most valuable brands (8th position), while China Construction Bank moved to 11th position from 13th and tech giant Tencent jumped an incredible 12 places to 14th. 

WeChat continues decade-long growth

Launched 10 years ago by tech giant Tencent Holdings, WeChat is a multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app that grew quickly, becoming the world’s largest standalone mobile app in 2018 and surpassing 12 billion monthly active users last year. 

In 2017, WeChat introduced mini programme-based transactions to further Tencent’s goal of strengthening its fintech business, with the messaging app housing numerous third-party lite apps. In fact, WeChat facilitated US$250 billion in annual transactions through its third-party services in 2020. 


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