WeChat Leapfrogs Chanel To Become Top China Brand

What Happened: This year, WeChat has overtaken the storied French luxury label Chanel atop Campaign Asia-Pacific’s list of top-100 brands in China. The list, which features heavyweights like Nike, Huawei, and Nestle shows how the global pandemic has impacted brand positioning in China.

In 2020, WeChat held the very last position on Campaign Asia-Pacific’s top-10 ranking. But now, the Chinese super-app has become the leader, bumping Chanel from its top position.

The Jing Take: WeChat knows how to maximize brand value and connect with its 1.24 billion monthly active users worldwide (2020). As a global disruptor and an engine for innovation, WeChat has inspired a myriad of smaller competitors and even Western rivals, pushing them to upgrade their services and foster more innovative cultures. Consequently, the power ranking in Campaign Asia-Pacific’s list does not come as a surprise.

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Sure enough, being named the world’s strongest brand in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking in 2021 is a clear indication WeChat is one of the globe’s leading companies. The fact that WeChat has overtaken brands like Chanel and Ferrari in 2021 reveals how, post-pandemic, consumers expect more from brands than aspirational qualities, heritage, craftsmanship, and traditional luxury. In fact, characterized by modernity and technological advances, WeChat wholly defines today’s digital culture.

The Chinese app also developed a critical “purpose,” having been used as a “source of information” during COVID-19. “During the pandemic, WeChat ran several government-mandated health code apps to keep track of those traveling 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,” said Kate Birch in an editorial for Business Chief Asia.

Soon enough, homegrown D2C brands that use digital-first sales models will dominate global rankings. As such, luxury labels will need to upgrade their offerings if they hope to survive in a highly competitive market like China.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.