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The top 20 most powerful international brands in China are dominated by 13 American brands that include seven in the personal-care arena and one in apparel.

This story first appeared in the July 31, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The top U.S. brand is Kentucky Fried Chicken. KFC is also ranked first in the list of top 20 brands. Pampers placed second, followed by Colgate, Olay and Crest to round out the top five. Olay and Crest are both owned by Procter & Gamble. Apple placed sixth, followed by McDonald’s, Omo laundry products from U.K.-based Unilever, Coca-Cola and French retailer Carrefour. Pantene is ranked number 11, followed by Gillette, Johnson & Johnson’s Baby brand, Adidas and L’Oréal. Korea’s Samsung, the only Asian brand that made the list, is ranked 16th, followed by Nike, Head & Shoulders and Volkswagen. Giorgio Armani completes the top 20 list.

Oscar Yuan, vice president at Millward Brown Optimor, said, “China is a big story on the growth and rise of the middle class. The Chinese consumers are looking at products that they didn’t have the luxury of using before. Colgate, Olay and Gillette are [high on the list] because the U.S. has dominated a lot of the personal-care products. That’s a credit to the big investment Procter & Gamble has made in China in developing the business.”

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The survey is Millward Brown’s first on international power brands in China, which included more than 60,000 consumers in the research across 10 top-tier Chinese cities, such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

Yuan also said it wasn’t surprising that KFC ranked first, given that it is “far and away the largest fast-food store in China.” He said there are 4,200 KFCs in China across 850 cities, compared with McDonald’s, which has 1,700 sites.

While Apple is a top electronics brand in the U.S., it ranked sixth in China, in part because local competitors such as China Mobile have a greater market share in the country’s mobile phone market. Also, Apple’s products are still relatively expensive for a still-developing middle-class market base, which means it isn’t yet as accessible to many consumers.

According to Yuan, international brands are appealing to Chinese consumers. “One is trust. In the last three years, the trust for Chinese brands has eroded as scandals and quality issues have impacted some Chinese products. Secondly, international brands are a symbol of prestige and good taste, appealing to the rapidly growing middle class in China,” he said.

Among those in the top 20 international power brands in China, 11 are also on Millward Brown’s BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands for 2013. Those brands are KFC, Pampers, Colgate, Apple, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Gillette, Adidas, Samsung, Nike and Volkswagen. In the Most Valuable Global Brands ranking, Apple is first, followed by Google, IBM, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.

Separately, the top 10 apparel brands in the Most Valuable Global Brands survey are Zara, Nike, H&M, Ralph Lauren, Adidas, Uniqlo, Next, Lululemon, Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein.

Among luxury brands, the top 10 on the Most Valuable Global Brands list are Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Gucci, Prada, Rolex, Chanel, Cartier, Burberry, Fendi and Coach.

Among retailers, the global brands survey listed 20 top brands. They include Amazon in the top spot, followed by Wal-Mart and Home Depot. Rounding out the list are eBay, Tesco, Ikea, Target, Woolworths, Aldi, Lowe’s, Carrefour, Costco, Whole Foods, Walgreens, CVS, Falabella, M&S, Asda, Lidl and Coles.

The global brands survey included a listing of the top 15 personal-care brands. L’Oréal tops the list. In order of ranking, it was followed by Gillette, Colgate, Nivea, Garnier, Lancôme, Dove, Clinique, Natura, Crest, Olay, Estée Lauder, Oral-B, Avon and Pond’s.

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