In the latest ranking of China’s most valuable brands, Chinese travel brands are among the biggest winners in year-over-year change in brand value. Ctrip, China’s leading online travel marketplace is one of the big winners, with its estimated brand value growing by 32 percent in 2017’s report—putting its brand value ahead of well-known Chinese brands such as ZTE, Tsingtao Beer, and Sina—making Ctrip the 38th most valuable Chinese brand. Outbound tourism-focused tourism company Caissa—part of HNA Group—also broke into the list for the first time, underlining the growing importance of international tourism in China.

The BrandZ China Top 100 is a yearly study by Millward Brown that evaluates the brand value of leading Chinese brands, and does not include Western brands that operate in the Chinese market. The report combines financial data from Bloomberg and Kantar Worldpanel with data from interviews with Chinese consumers. In this year’s study, the total value of the brands within the top 100 reached US$557.1 billion, a 6 percent increase on last year’s figures. Travel brands, which include airlines, hotels, and travel agencies, showed an average growth in brand value of approximately 4 percent—largely bogged down by negative performance of China’s many state-owned travel brands. The ten travel companies that made the top 100 list have a combined brand value of US$15.2 billion.

According to the report, these are China’s most valuable travel brands in 2017:

  1. Air China, US$4.85 billion (-1 percent)
  2. China Eastern Airlines, US$2.95 billion (-2 percent)
  3. China Southern Airlines, US$2.41 billion (-2 percent)
  4. Ctrip, US$2.26 billion (+32 percent)
  5. Hainan Airlines, US$909 million (+5 percent)
  6. Home Inn, US$471 million (-2 percent)
  7. Hanting, US$448 million (+3 percent)
  8. Caissa, US$429 million (new)
  9. Jinjiang Inn, US$276 million (+1 percent)
  10. CITS, US$235 million (-18 percent)

While still trailing behind China’s state-owned airlines, Ctrip can pride itself as the only non-airline in the top five of China’s most valuable travel brands, as well as the most valuable non-state travel brand.

Caissa, a new company to break into the top 100 this year, also demonstrates its growing foothold within China’s tourism market. The company, which mainly provides travel services that relate to international tourism, immediately leapfrogged China International Travel Service (CITS), its state-owned peer. A similar development is underway within airlines, where state-owned giants are declining in brand value in favor for private companies in the same sector. Despite the relative decline of CITS, strong performances by Ctrip and Caissa made travel agencies (as defined by the survey) the category with the highest level of growth in brand value since last year’s report

“The strength of the travel business in part explains the presence of travel agency Caissa among the newcomers. Most important, Caissa identified and serves an emerging niche market of consumers who desire a more premium travel experience, beyond traditional tour groups,” the report explains when addressing Caissa’s recent success.


A previous version of this story incorrectly referenced numbers from last year’s report. The story has since been updated. Thanks to GcJ for submitting the correction.

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