Telecoms equipment maker’s heavy investment in marketing to overcome security concerns brings results, claims branding agency
The telecoms equipment maker Huawei has become the first Chinese company to feature in the top 100 of an annual ranking of the world’s most valuable brands.
Huawei scraped in at number 94 in the rankings by Interbrand, following heavy investment around the world in advertising, marketing, public relations and lobbying.
The global push has partly been made in an effort to overcome negative publicity surrounding alleged links between Huawei and Chinese state intelligence. The company denies the claims but as a result has been barred from major contracts in America and Australia, and forced to submit to constant scrutiny of its equipment by GCHQ in the UK.
In an attempt to move past the controversy, alongside the investment in branding, Huawei has sought consumer recognition by attacking the smartphone market. It is promoting its handsets in the West with sport sponsorships, including of Arsenal and Athletico Madrid in Spain.
Prior to the push, the privately-held company considered changing its brand to something easier for western consumers to pronounce but pressed on with its Chinese name which was well-established with the mobile operators who buy its telecoms equipment.
Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s chief executive, said: “Huawei’s rapid growth and long-term investments in its brand helped it earn a place among the world’s most valuable brands.
“Despite its low brand awareness in the US, Huawei has gradually expanded its reach around the world.”
Huawei’s place in the top 100 places it at the vanguard of Chinese technology companies bidding to make the leap from big domestic players or manufacturing contractors for international brands to becoming names that are well-known internationally in their own right. Alibaba, the online marketplace, made a global splash last month with its record-breaking Wall Street flotation, for instance. Lenovo is now among the world’s computer makers after it bought of IBM’s PC and server businesses.
Technology brands in general dominate Interbrand’s rankings. Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Samsung all feature in the top 10.