Aramco and Adnoc ranked region’s most valuable brands with Apple the world’s top

Electric vehicle maker Tesla drops out of global top 10 list, Brand Finance Global 500 report finds

Apple’s net profit jumped 10.7 per cent on an annual basis in its 2023 fiscal fourth quarter, despite a yearly drop in total sales. Bloomberg
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Apple has surpassed Amazon to claim the title of the world's most valuable brand, worth $516.6 billion, while Middle Eastern oil and gas majors Saudi Aramco and Adnoc maintained their positions as the leading brands in the region, a report has found.

Apple achieved a 74 per cent yearly increase in brand value, even as its prime product iPhone’s volume share has largely plateaued, the report by consultancy Brand Finance said.

However, its strategy of finding new markets, expanding its ecosystem and encouraging upgrades to higher-value iPhones has been highly effective, as has the company's expansion into new product lines.

During Brand Finance’s research, more than 50 per cent of respondents recognised Apple as expensive but worth the cost, reinforcing its ability to demand a premium price.

“Apple has grown its brand value through strategic diversification and premiumisation, moving away from heavy reliance on iPhone sales towards ... wearables and services such as Apple TV subscriptions,” said David Haigh, chairman and chief executive of Brand Finance.

The company, based in Cupertino, California, was followed by Microsoft ($340.4 billion), Google ($333.4 billion), Amazon ($308.9 billion) and Samsung ($99.4 billion).

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Brand Finance assesses the strength of global brands, quantifies their value and rates them annually across sectors and countries.

Last year, e-commerce giant Amazon topped the world ranking with a $299.3 billion brand value.

The world’s biggest oil-producing company, Saudi Aramco, which experienced an almost 8 per cent annual drop in brand value to $41.6 billion this year, retained its title of the most valuable brand in the Middle East, the London-based consultancy revealed.

Aramco is consistently acquiring assets around the world to strengthen its portfolio and expand into new markets.

Last month, it acquired a 40 per cent equity stake in Gas & Oil Pakistan to enter the South Asian country’s fuel retail market. It also completed its acquisition of Valvoline's global products business for $2.65 billion last year.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the second most valuable Middle Eastern brand, has grown its brand value by 7 per cent on a yearly basis to $15.2 billion.

Adnoc's brand strength has improved due to its commitment to decarbonisation, the report said.

The company is one of the 50 founding signatories of the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter that is a global commitment to speed up climate action across the industry, launched at Cop28 last year.

Globally, among all brands, Adnoc climbed 10 places to 128th from last year's 138th.

“We are witnessing several brands from a wide array of sectors on the cusp of breaking into the top 500,” Mr Haigh said.

Amid an expansion push in the region, "many brands are making the step up from being strong regional players to becoming brands with global aspirations".

Saudi Telecom Company, the kingdom’s biggest mobile operator, climbed 10 spots to reach 149th position in the global ranking. Its brand value jumped nearly 12 per cent to $13.9 billion. It makes STC the first consumer brand in the Middle East to enter the 150 most valuable brands globally.

STC, which acquired a 9.9 per cent stake in Spain's Telefonica for 8.5 billion Saudi riyals ($2.27 billion) in September, has made “significant strides” in its expansion strategy, integrating specialised subsidiaries in its digital infrastructure, the report said.

Meanwhile, etisalat by e&, the UAE's biggest telecoms operator, increased its brand value by 12 per cent to $11.7 billion.

Riding on the wave of the artificial intelligence sector boom, US chip maker Nvidia became the world’s fastest growing brand. Its brand value surged 163 per cent to $44.5 billion and the company improved its ranking from 117 last year to 30.

Texas-headquartered electric vehicle maker Tesla (brand value down 12 per cent to $58.3 billion) has dropped out of the top 10, falling to 18th place. The company has been affected by its large exposure to the Chinese EV market that has seen a sharp rise in many home-grown brands such as BYD (brand value up 20 per cent to $12.1 billion).

Tesla’s close association with billionaire businessman Elon Musk, “a controversial leadership figure, creates added reputational risk for the brand”, the Brand Finance report said.

Updated: January 17, 2024, 4:57 AM