Baidu ranked 29th among global brands: study

BEIJING--The Chinese Internet search engine Baidu Inc. has been named as the most valuable brand for a non-state-owned Chinese company.

That's after Baidu climbed 46 positions in the BrandZ list of the world's top 100 brands, according to a study produced by the global brands agency, Millward Brown Group.

Baidu is now ranked 29th out of the 100 companies and has a value of US$22.56 billion (S$27.75 billion), an increase of 141 per cent compared with 2010, says the annual study.

"The rapid development of Baidu has been attributed to the fast-growing Internet industry in China," said Peking Tan, the director of Greater China research and development at Millward Brown. "In addition, the search engine has also benefited from Google Inc.'s withdrawal from China."

In January 2010, Google, the world's most popular search engine, announced plans to pull its search engine business out of China. The U.S. Internet search giant held 19.2 per cent of China's search market by revenue in the first-quarter of 2011, a slight decline from the 19.6 per cent it held three months earlier.

Meanwhile, Baidu's market share rose to 75.8 per cent from 75.5 per cent, according to the research company Analysis International.

Last month, Baidu said profit for the first quarter of this year reached 1.07 billion yuan (S$200 million) from 480.5 million yuan a year earlier. First-quarter revenue grew 88 per cent to 2.4 billion yuan, from 1.3 billion yuan a year earlier.

"Search just became the most popular application for Chinese Internet users and there is still a lot of growth to expect for many years down the road," Baidu's Chief Executive Officer Robin Li said last month.

In latest BrandZ report, 12 of the top 100 companies came from China, many of them state-owned: At no. 9, China Mobile was the best performer among Chinese companies; ICBC Asia came in at no. 11; China Construction Bank at no. 24; China Life was no. 33; and Bank of China was no. 37.

The total value of the top 12 Chinese brands was US$259 billion (S$319 billion), accounting for 4.4 per cent of China's GDP in 2010.

Last year, China's GDP surged to US$5.87 trillion, as the country overtook Japan to become the world's second-largest economy after the United States.

As its starting point, Millward Brown takes the value that companies put on their own main brands as an "intangible" factor in their earnings reports.

That figure is then combined with the perceptions of more than 2 million consumers worldwide in the relevant markets whom Millward Brown surveys over the course of the year, and then applies a multiple derived from the specific company's short-term future growth prospects.