Emerging Markets Build Their Brands

05/20/2011 4:30 pm EST


Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

The annual BrandZ 100 list of the most valuable brands in the world is out. The big continuing story in this year’s list is the increase in the number of top brands coming from the world’s developing economies—19 in all, coming from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Mexico.

If you’re interested in what emerging-market companies are grabbing global mind share, this list from Millward Brown Optimor is a great place to start. (And if you live in a developed economy, it’s as good way to check your perceptions of the way the world is going.)

The ranking tries to link customer perceptions of a brand with company revenue, earnings, and shareholder value. The list focuses on brands that generate revenue and earnings through the sale of goods and services.

It’s not a list of what brands have the biggest following on Wall Street, and it excludes corporate brands that aren’t linked to particular products. (So Coca-Cola (KO) gets big brand credit for Coke, but much less for brands such as Fanta, to take one example.)

So what brands show up on the list that are of interest to investors, in my opinion?

Baidu (BIDU), the Chinese search engine giant, comes in at No. 29, up 46 slots from last year. Tencent Holdings (TCEHY), the dominant Chinese instant-messaging company, comes in at No. 52. The company is new to the list this year.

Other newcomers from developing economies are concentrated in the financial sector. China Life Insurance (LFC) is ranked as No. 33, and competitor Ping An (PNGAY) has gained the No. 83 slot in their first appearances on the list.

Agricultural Bank of China (ACGBY) has joined the list at No. 43. The rest of China’s big banks were already on the list, with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (IDCBY) at No. 11 this year and China Construction Bank (CICHY) at No. 24. China Merchants Bank (CIHKY) holds down the No. 97 slot this year (down seven from last year’s list). Bank of China (3988.HK) is No. 37.

Brazil’s Itau Unibanco (ITUB) makes its debut at No. 90. Sberbank of Russia (SBRBF) joins at No. 99. (Itau Unibanco competitor Banco Bradesco (BBD) holds the same No. 98 slot as it did last year.)

You can get the full report here.

Full disclosure: I don’t own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this column in my personal portfolio. The mutual fund I manage, Jubak Global Equity Fund (JUBAX), may or may not now own positions in any stock mentioned in this column. The fund did own shares of Baidu, Itau Unibanco, Ping An, and Tencent Holdings as of the end of March. For a full list of the stocks in the fund as of the end of March, see the fund’s portfolio here.

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