Overcoming Category Challenges – Top Risers and Category LeadersCoupled with a flagging international economy, certain categories are facing increasingly tough competition domestically. Still, there are several standout brands that have grown in value despite a challenging year, these include:
- Men's apparel brand Septwolves has increased its brand value by 44 percent and is second only to Tencent in this year's list of fastest risers. By focusing on its strategy to become the top-tier apparel brand in the lower-tier cities, and by carefully controlling its expansion, Septwolves has sidestepped competition from foreign brands and the issues of excess inventory that have affected some of the other brands in the apparel category this year.
- Chinese airlines faced a difficult environment due to increasing competition from domestic high speed rail and rising fuel prices, resulting in a 22 percent decline for the entire category. However, Hainan Airlines bucked the trend with a 23 percent increase in brand value, moving up five places in the ranking. Hainan Airlines has built a strong brand and reputation for excellent customer service under its Customer First strategy; in 2011 it became the first Chinese airline to be awarded five stars by Startrax. By concentrating on the customer, and by remaining heavily focused on the Chinese domestic market, Hainan Airlines, which first entered the rankings last year at number 46, has become one of this year's top risers to number 41.
- The closure of a white goods subsidy programme at the end of 2011 badly affected the home appliances category, resulting in a 14 percent drop for the sector. However, Gree has been able to maintain its brand value. Sticking to its core markets of air conditioning, creating a clear message and offering its customers a wide choice of models, Gree has grown to control over 50 percent of the market in China and become the number one air conditioner brand in the world.