Chinese banks are now global leaders not just by asset base but also by brand value, according to the latest version of Brand Finance Banking 500, which says the combined value of Chinese banks has surpassed that of US banks for the first time.
The report, released on Feb 1 by the London-based business valuation consultancy, places Industrial and Commercial Bank of China as the world’s most valuable bank, with a brand value worth $47.8 billion, representing a 32 percent year-on-year growth.
Marketing investment and the brand’s credibility with customers, staff and shareholders, among other factors, are taken into consideration in calculating brand value. Essentially, the ranking rates how a bank’s soft values translate into performance.
“Chinese banks are being carried along in the slipstream of industrial giants as they grow and expand into international markets,” said Brand Finance CEO David Haigh. “Facilitating international deals boosts revenues, but more importantly, enables the banks to build their reputations with potential clients across the world.”
The report also said Chinese banks have an aggregate total brand value of $258 billion, accounting for 24 percent of the total brand value of the top 500 global banks by brand value, compared with 23 percent for US banks.
Zhou Jingtong, division head and professor at Bank of China’s Institute of International Finance, said: “The brand value growth of Chinese banks is closely related to the continuous rise of China’s contribution to the global economy. During the process, the Chinese banking industry maintained steady development in various aspects, including asset growth, asset quality, provision coverage ratio and capital adequacy ratio.”
The internationalization of Chinese banks, particularly in recent years, also contributed to their brand value growth.
In addition to Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank Corp also accelerated their globalization steps by setting up more branches overseas, which enhanced recognition of their brands, Zhou added.
China Construction Bank registered rapid brand value growth of 17 percent, and Bank of China, 13 percent.
Harbin Bank’s brand tripled in value in 2016 to $811 million, representing the fastest-growing bank by brand value last year.
The success of the Chinese banks came at the expense of US banks, such as Wells Fargo, which once topped the list. Wells Fargo’s fake accounts scandal, which led to court fines last year, contributed to a 6 percent fall in brand value to $41.6 billion.