Korea’s brands catch up to Japan’s

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Korea’s brands catch up to Japan’s

The combined value of Korea’s top 50 brands is estimated to be at more than 116 trillion won ($108 billion), according to a report by Interbrand, the world’s largest brand consulting agency.

In its “Best Korea Brands 2014” report, the New York-based company said the country’s top 50 global brands are valued at 116.93 trillion won.

It added that Korea’s top 30 brands are valued at 108.67 trillion won and are catching up quickly against rival Japan, where the top 30 brands were valued at 131.12 trillion won.

Founded in 1974, Interbrand evaluates brand value based on financial strength of the owning company, the influence of the brand on purchasing decisions and the brand’s future earning potential. Its methodology has been certified by the International Organization for Standardization as the global standard for measuring the value of brands.

Samsung Electronics had the No. 1 brand value among Korean companies worth 45.74 trillion won, up 23 percent from a year before. Hyundai Motor was the runner-up with a brand value of 10.39 trillion won, up 23 percent from the year earlier, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors took third with a brand value of 5.43 trillion won, up 18 percent year-on-year.

SK Telecom, the nation’s largest mobile carrier, was fourth at 4.45 trillion won followed by steelmaker Posco at 2.87 trillion won.

The report said 18 brands connected with either Samsung or Hyundai were included in the top 50 lists with a combined value of 77.68 trillion won, accounting for 66.4 percent of the total value of the top 50 brands. Samsung Group, the nation’s top chaebol, placed eight companies in the rankings, including Samsung Life Insurance (sixth place) and Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance (15th), while Hyundai had 10 brands on the list.

Interbrand said that Korea’s electronic and telecommunication industry made big progress, growing 20 percent on average compared to a year before. This was in contrast to Japan, which saw powerhouse Sony drop 8 percent and Nintendo plunge 14 percent in their brands’ values.

The brand value of Samsung Electronics alone was 6 trillion won more than the combined brand value of the electronics companies on Japan’s top 30 list. Interbrand said that it didn’t include Toshiba and Hitachi because their businesses are now categorized as diversified.

Interbrand said 16 of the top 50 Korean brands were from the financial industry, the most of any industry, and seven companies debuted on the list this year. But negative factors like management changes, computer network errors and falling profitability lowered the rankings of top banks like KB Kookmin, Shinhan and Hana.

Despite a slump in the construction and steel industries, top companies saw their brands’ values rise 2 percent to 13 percent year-on-year. But heavy industries and energy companies generally saw drops of 3 percent to 11 percent in their brands’ values. However, Doosan Infracore and S-Oil, which have been running ad campaigns in recent years, were able to appear on the top 50 list for the first time.

Korean retailers also saw an increase in brand value thanks to the rise of mobile shopping and customer services related with social networking services. A total of 13 retail brands were on the top 50 list, the second largest number behind the financial industry.

“Despite a sluggish global economy, Korean brands’ progress is remarkable,” said Moon Ji-hun, CEO of?Interbrand Korea.

BY JOO KYUNG-DON [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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