The company in charge of China’s most popular mobile messaging app is now a more important brand than the United States’ top social network, according to a new report.
Millward Brown’s annual BrandZ report on the world’s “most valuable” brands released today reports that Chinese tech company Tencent, which is most famous for its popular mobile app WeChat, increased in value by 97 percent over the past year and overtook China Mobile as China’s most valuable brand. Coming in at 14th on the worldwide list, the company beats American social network Facebook, as well as brands such as MasterCard, Walmart, and Disney.
Furthermore, Tencent is the world’s most rapidly rising brand in the world, with a 97 percent increase in brand value since last year. Meanwhile, Facebook came in second on the list of top risers with a 68 percent change.
Tencent’s focus on mobile payments through WeChat was a significant factor in the brand’s rise, says the report. During Chinese New Year, the app created a wildly successful game allowing users to utilize WeChat’s payment systems to send electronic “red envelopes,” or gifts of money, to friends and family.
Chinese brands making the list also included search engine giant Baidu in 25th place, as well as companies in the banking, telecom, energy, and insurance sectors.
When it comes to luxury, only top Western brands including Louis Vuitton, BMW, L’Oreal, Hermès, Mercedes-Benz, Gucci, and Prada made the list—but sales in China remains an important factor for all of these companies, says the report. Millward Brown’s list of the top 100 Chinese brands released in December had a few-luxury related Chinese companies, however, such as premium baijiu producer Maotai and several Chinese wineries.