In China, Maotai (or Moutai) is known as ‘the national liquor.’ It is made from a grain called red sorghum at Kweichow Moutai Co. Ltd., the country’s most famous distillery. Maotai is served at all Chinese state banquets and often presented as a diplomatic gift. Credit: Handout.

Crack it open and pour a drink!

At 640 billion yuan (US$91 billion), famed alcohol distiller Kweichow Moutai is the most valuable Chinese brand for the second year running, according to Hurun’s latest annual rankings released this week, Yicai Global reported.

Shanghai-based Hurun Report has released the Most Valuable Chinese Brands list for the past 14 years.

It assesses the value of 200 brands based on financial data and customer surveys. This year the threshold for inclusion was the highest ever at 4 billion yuan (US$568.5 million), 1 billion yuan more than last year.

Tobacco brand Chunghwa came in second place, logging the most growth with its value nearly tripling to 350 billion yuan. Alibaba Group Holding’s e-commerce platform Tmall came third at 320 billion yuan. Internet giant Baidu, worth 105 billion yuan, slumped to 20th position from 10th last year.

The finance and real estate sectors contributed the most brands to the list. The finance sector had 40, one more than last year.

The tobacco industry made the strongest advance with its brand value almost doubling. The alcohol sector was not far behind, registering one and a quarter times’ growth. Five tobacco brands, Chunghwa, Furongwang, Yuxi, Double Happiness and Liqun, were among the top 10 individual brands that had the greatest increase in value.

Alibaba was the parent company that featured most on the list, with seven brands named including Tmall, Taobao and Cainiao.

Internet conglomerate Tencent Holdings had three included, namely WeChat, Tencent and QQ, while Jiangsu Yanghe Brewery also had three, Dream Blue, Sky Blue and Ocean Blue.

Almost half of all the brands on the list are privately run. Five of the top 10 are private companies, fewer than last year. In the top 100, 53 brands are private and in the top 200, 110 are closely held.

There was no change in the top three locations of brand headquarters. Beijing headed the list with 58 based there, though this was two less than last year. Guangdong had 44 and Shanghai 34, both the same as last year.

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