Top 10 - Asia Pacific's most influential brands

By Harry Menear

Asia Pacific Business Chief ranks the top ten brands in the region, according to the Forbes Magazine list of the world’s most powerful brands. Japan lays claim to seven of the top 10 brands, with no Pacific or Southeast Asian entries making the list.This year, half of the top 10 most valuable APAC brands were automotive. Of the remaining five, four are electronics manufacturers, with the only exception being Uniqlo. Let’s see who else made the top ten.


10. Uniqlo

Headquartered in Tokyo, the Uniqlo clothing brand is a subsidiary of Fast Retailing. Founded in 1984, the brand originally traded under Uniclo (a shortening of Unique Clothing Company), but switched to Uniqlo following a typo on the company’s Hong Kong registration form. Uniqlo has over 1,900 stores worldwide, according to Forbes, and its brand was valued in 2018 at US$7.5bn, a 12% increase year-over-year.


9. Panasonic

Founded in 1918 and based in Kadoma, Japan, the Panasonic Corporation engages in the design, manufacture and sale of electronics, including white goods, health and beauty products, light fixtures, photovoltaic systems, air-conditioning equipment, car-use-multimedia equipment, mobile phones, projectors and digital cameras, according to Forbes. It is the oldest company in the top ten. The Panasonic brand was valued at $7.8bn, representing a year-on-year growth of 12%.


8. Huawei

The only Chinese company in the top ten, Shenzhen-based telecommunications and technology company Huawei was founded by former Chinese military officer Ren Zhengfei in 1987. According to Forbes, the company now employs 180,000 people across 170 countries and, with a 20% market share, is the largest smartphone distributor in China. In 2018, the Huawei brand was valued at $8.4bn, a 15% increase over 2017.


7. Hyundai

Seoul-based car brand Hyundai Motor was founded in 1967 and engages in the manufacture and distribution of motor vehicles and railways, according to Forbes. In 2018, Hyundai reported net sales of $85.9bn, its highest of all time. While the company’s asset portfolio has also grown by over $50bn over the past five years, 2018 represented a continuation of a decline in profits now amounting to $4.8bn. Forbes valued the Hyundai brand at $8.7bn in 2018, a 2% decline year-over-year.


6. Nissan

The Nissan Motor Company engages in the manufacture and sale of automotive parts and marine equipment, according to Forbes. Headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, Nissan is ranked 94th on Forbes list of the world’s Top Regarded companies, and 52nd in terms of revenue. In 2018, the company reported $1bn in revenue growth, up to $106bn, while also securing over 60% growth in profit, up to a ten-year high point of $7.4bn. Forbes valued the Nissan brand at $9.4bn in 2018, up 5% year-over-year.


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5. Lexus

The luxury vehicle brand of Toyota Motor Company, Lexus was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Nagoya, Japan. Lexus is ranked by Forbes as the fourth-largest luxury brand worldwide behind third place Audi. The brand’s vehicles were deemed the most dependable new cars on the market for the past seven years by JD Power Associates. The Lexus brand was valued at $9.5bn in 2018, a 4% increase in comparison to the 2017 financial year.


4. Sony

Headquartered in Tokyo, the Sony Corporation engages in the development, design, manufacture and sale of electronic equipment and software. The company is ranked 42nd on Forbes list of top regarded companies, and 54th on its list of best employers for graduates. In 2018, Sony reported record profits of $4.4bn and a return to profitability after $393mn losses in 2017. Its brand is valued at $10.2bn, which represents a 23% increase in value year-on-year, the largest growth in brand value of any company in the top ten.


3. Honda

Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, the Honda Motor Company engages in the design, development, manufacture and sale of cars, motorcycles and power products. In 2018, the company reported record figures for sales, profits and asset valuation, with $138.6bn, $9.6bn and $151.7bn respectively. Forbes valued the Honda brand at $25.5bn in 2018, which represents a 6% growth year-on-year.


2. Toyota

The Toyota Motor Corp is the largest manufacturer and seller of motor vehicles and auto parts worldwide. The company ranks 12th on both of Forbes lists of top regarded companies and the Global 2000. Toyota reported record figures for revenue, asset valuation and profits in 2018 with $265.2bn, $473bn and $22.5bn respectively. The Toyota brand was valued by Forbes at $44.7bn in 2018, representing a 9% increase year-on-year.


1. Samsung

The Samsung Electronics Company is headquartered in Suwon, South Korea, and is the largest manufacturer of electronics, computer peripherals and cell phones in Asia. The company employs 320,000 people, according to Forbes, making it the largest employer in the top ten by almost 200,000 jobs. In 2018, Samsung’s achieved a two-fold increase in profits, up from $19.3bn in 2017 to $41bn in 2018. The Samsung brand was valued by Forbes at $47.6bn in 2018, up 25% year-on-year, the second-largest increase in valuation on the top ten list.


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