An employee arranges bottles of Moutai baijiu at the Kweichow Moutai Co. factory in the town of Maotai in Renhuai, Guizhou province, China. (Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

These Are China’s Most Valuable Brands. Booze Beats Tech

(Bloomberg) -- China’s biggest Internet and financial giants were overthrown by an alcoholic drink this year as the country’s most valuable brand, the first time in a decade that a solid product hit No. 1 in an annual ranking.

Kweichow Moutai Co., whose fiery rice liquor is the toast of choice for China’s elites and highly coveted by its rising middle class, claimed the top place among the country’s brands, according to research firm Hurun Institute. Last year’s winner, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s e-commerce platform Taobao, sank to second place while rival Tencent Holdings Ltd. shifted to third.

Over the past 10 years, technology companies such as China Mobile Ltd., Tencent and Baidu Inc. led the list. While those names remain in the top 10, Moutai shot up seven places to take the title. The distiller has a brand value of $39 billion, representing 40 percent of its market value, according to Hurun.

RankBrand Brand ValueLast year’s rank
1Moutai$39 billion8
2Taobao $37 billion1
3Tencent $36 billion2
4ICBC$34 billion4
5Tmall$28 billion 10
6CCB$26 billion6
7Ping An$25 billion 9

Technology names weren’t completely out of the picture. Alibaba’s mobile payments app, Alipay, climbed 11 places to 14th on the list, while its Tmall platform advanced to fifth place. Huawei Technologies Co., whose chief financial officer has been detained in Canada on allegations of violating U.S. sanctions in a saga that’s roiled bilateral relations, inched up several notches to 13th.

Financial names also had a strong showing, with Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank among the top 10.

As a whole, Chinese brands suffered from the country’s stock market slump. The total value for the top 200 brands fell for the first time in history, Hurun said, dropping 13 percent to 5.6 trillion yuan ($812 billion).

Hurun’s ranking is based on a survey of 1,000 people, with brand value calculated using a formula based on market capitalization and a brand premium.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.