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Value of Taiwan's Top-20 International Brands Drops in 2013 as High-tech Firms Tumble

Jan 21, 2014 | By Steve Chuang

The overall value of Taiwan's top-20 international brands dropped 14.3% to US$10.637 billion in 2013, compared to US$12.412 billion a year earlier, according to the latest survey published by Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). The retreat comes at a time when HTC, Acer and other high-tech companies in Taiwan have been stumbling in the global market.

PC vendor Asus remained the top brand on the list, with a brand value of US$1.711 billion, up 3% from 2012. The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) under MOEA noted that the brand has risen through the ranking since 2007 with the debut of innovative products, like the Transformer series tablets, that have helped the company differentiate itself from rivals in smartphone sector, while also offsetting falling shipments of conventional laptops.
At an awards ceremony, David Chang, Asus' chief financial officer and chief marketing officer, proudly said that the brand has remained among Taiwan's top three international brands for 11 straight years mainly due to its unwavering dedication to building trust and consistent pursuit of excellence.

The second most-valuable brand was Master Kong, a food supplier owned by Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp. The brand's value rose by 15% to US$1.498 billion in 2013, earning it a third-place ranking on the top-20 list. The IDB stated that the reported value is likely to have been dampened by Taiwan's recent cooking oil scandals, first exposed in the third quarter of 2013. The survey was conducted earlier in May to June.

Trend Micro (anti-virus software), HTC (smartphones) and Want Want (food) ranked from number three to five, respectively, with brand values of US$1.236 billion, US$1.132 billion and US$1.05 billion.

High-tech Brands Depressed
The hammering taken by Taiwan's high-tech brands in 2013 was plain to see in the survey results.

HTC suffered the steepest drop in its brand value, down 59%, pulling the company back from first place to the fourth slot. HTC's global sales have fallen steadily over the past year amid fierce competition from Apple, Samsung and emerging rivals in China. The brand's value shrunk by US$2.473 billion from a peak of US$3.605 billion in 2011.

HTC, who developed the world's first Android-powered smartphone and once ranked among world's top five smartphone suppliers by market shares, is pinning hope for a recovery on its new HTC One models, but market observers are generally pessimistic about the brand's prospects for a couple of reasons. They note that HTC has fewer resources for promotion. It is also being squeezed in both the higher-end segment by Apple and Samsung, while new rivals emerge in the lower-end.

Acer has also not been immune to market forces. The second-biggest laptop brand from 2009 to 2011, the company has seen its brand value plummet by 41% to only US$984 million, pushing the company down from No. 2 to No. 6 on the top-20 list. Most agree that Acer's downturn began following the ouster of its ex-CEO Gianfranco Lanci in late 2011, now serving at Lenovo. Lackluster growth of the global PC sector has also hurt the company as smartphones, tablets and other mobile Internet devices eat market share.

The forward outlook is equally gloomy. International Data Corp. (IDC), a U.S.-based market research institute, has forecast global PC shipment in 2013 to drop 10.1%, and continue to dip by 3.8% in 2014, while the U.K.-based Gartner Inc., has reported growth forecast of negative 7.5% for 2013 and a pessimistic prediction for 2014.

Trend Micro, D-Link (network devices), CyberLink (multimedia software) and Zyxel (network devices) saw their brand values drop by 9%, 18%, 7% and 29%, respectively, to US$1.236 billion, US$166 million, US$129 million and US$101 million in 2013, while Advantech, a maker of industrial computers and embedded systems, held its brand value flat at US$139 million.

The IDB said that as the global information and communication technology (ICT) industry is restructuring following the emergence of mobile Internet devices along with related application software, globally known brands of this kind, including Dell, HP and Nokia, have generally seen their value drop as their Taiwanese counterparts. To survive the transition, high-tech firms have to work harder on integrating software and hardware to offer integrated services.

Bicycle, Food and Food Service Brands UpIn contrast to their high-tech cousins, many brands in traditional industries, such as bicycles, food and food services, surged in value in 2013.

Riding on global trends towards eco- and health-friendly sport and leisure activities, bicycle maker Giant increased its brand value by 13% to US$386 million, placing the company seventh on the top-20 list. Rival Merida scored an even more significant gain of 53% in value of US$321 million, making it the tenth most-valuable brand and a first-time member of the top-10 list.

The IDB attributed Merida's whopping growth partly to increased interest in cycling, as well as the payoff of the brand's long-term cultivation of the Chinese market. The brand's overall bicycle sales increased to 1.05 million units in China in the first 11 months of 2013, up 25.32% from the same period of 2012, and are projected to hit 1.1 million units for the whole year.

Interbrand Corp., a U.K.-based brand consultant who has been commissioned by the Taiwanese government to carry out brand surveys, says that Merida's rise is due to a branding strategy emphasizing the sport and leisure aspects of cycling and enhancing emotional connections between the brand and consumers.

Food brands, Master Kong (No.2) and Want Want (No.5), also saw big gains in brand values. The two brands rose in value by 15% and 31%, respectively, in 2013 to US$1.498 billion and US$1.05 billion, boosting their ranks from the fifth and sixth place showings in 2012. Uni-President, a food and beverage brand with Taiwan's largest convenient store chain, also advanced one notch to the 13th place with a brand value of US$168 million, 10% more than in 2012.

Two other food service brands, 85°C (a bakery coffee shop chain) and Wowprime (a restaurant chain), increased their brand values by 1% and 12%, respectively, to US$276 million and US$92 million.

All of the mentioned food and food service brands have been in the top-20 brand list and enjoyed strong gains in brand value for two or more straight years. They also show strong promise for continuing growth in the coming year. Interbrand says that the rise of the brands in these two sectors is attributable to their constant development of new food products catering to increasingly fussy consumers.

Taiwan's Top 20 International Brands for 2013 By Value
(Product Category)
Brand Value
YoY Growth Rate
Ranking in 2011
Asustek Computer Inc.
US$1.711 Bn.
Tingyi Holding Corp.
(instant noodles & beverage)
US$1.498 Bn.
Trend Micro Inc.
(anti-virus software)
US$1.236 Bn.
- 9%
HTC Corp.
US$1.132 Bn.
- 59%
Want Want Holdings Ltd.
US$1.050 Bn.
Acer Inc.
US$984 M.
- 41%
Giant Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
US$386 M.
Cheng Shin
Cheng Shin Rubber Industry Co.
US$370 M.
Synnex Technology International Corp.
(3C product distribution)
US$345 M.
Merida Industry Co., Ltd.
US$321 M.
Gourmet Master Co., Ltd.
(beverage & cakes)
US$276 M.
Advantech Co.
(embedded computing systems)
US$260 M.
Uni-President Enterprises Corp.
(convenient store chain operator, food & beverage)
US$168 M.
D-Link Corp.
(network devices)
US$166 M.
- 18%
Transcend Information Inc.
(memory products)
US$139 M.
Johnson Health Tech Co.
(fitness equipment)
US$139 M.
- 1%
Delta Electronics Inc.
(power supplies, system solutions)
US$137 M.
CyberLink Corp.
(multimedia software)
US$129 M.
- 7%
Zyxel Communications Corp.
(network devices)
US$101 M.
- 29%
Wowprime Corp.
US$92 M.
Source: Interbrand Corp. and Ministry of Economic Affairs
Overall Value of Taiwan's Top 20 International Brands by Year
Overall Value
US$8.674 Bn.
US$9.360 Bn.
US$13.103 Bn.
US$12.412 Bn.
US$10.637 Bn.
YoY Growth Rate
- 5.3%
- 14.3%
Source: Interbrand Corp. and Ministry of Economic Affairs

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