Despite all the hoopla, a new ranking says that Alibaba isn’t the most valuable brand in China

A recent report from research firm Millward Brown highlights that there’s a new king of the hill in China in 2015…and it isn’t Alibaba. For the first time ever, Millward Brown’s annual ranking of the most valuable brands in China does not place China Telecom in the top spot. In fact, the Chinese telecom titan slipped all the way to third place, behind Alibaba in second place and Internet portal Tencent in first place.

Tencent Overtakes Alibaba Group Holding Ltd As Most Valuable Brand In China

Tencent, Alibaba: Details on Millward Brown’s 2015 China brand rankings

Tencent’s brand is estimated to be worth close to $66.1 billion, up almost 100% over the last 12 months. Alibaba was ranked second on this year’s list with a brand value of around $59.7 billion.

This year, both Internet firms came out ahead of China Mobile, the massive wireless operator that has finished first in every edition of the rankings until now.

“Alibaba grabbed the world’s attention with its IPO, but many other Chinese brands have global ambition and ability,” the report noted.

Millward Brown offered the opinion that a growing rivalry and more competition can be expected between Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu (China’s top Internet search company).

The report pointed out that: “Through alliances and acquisitions, each attempted to become the default Internet ecosystem, the one-stop destination where customers could satisfy all their needs for search, news and entertainment, e-commerce, banking, email and myriad other services.”

More on Tencent

Tencent is a huge conglomerate of mobile, telecom and online retail businesses that together form one of the largest consumer-focused businesses in the world.

Established in Shenzhen just over 16 years ago, Tencent is perhaps best known as the operator of QQ, a desktop messaging service, and the mobile messaging app WeChat.

Of note, Tencent currently sports a market cap of more than $160 billion, greater than McDonald’s, Boeing or American Express.