The value of China's top 100 brands rose by 13 percent in 2015 to 525.6 billion U.S. dollars, new research found.
Internet giant Tencent remained China's most valuable brand, according to the ranking by British advertising giant WPP and its market research unit Millward Brown. Their annual BrandZ report showed Tencent's value grew by nearly a quarter year on year to 82.1 billion U.S. dollars, equivalent to Norway's annual GDP.
Tencent was followed by China Mobile and Alibaba. Telecoms brand Huawei and online retailer JD.com were the highest newcomers.
Huawei has a strong worldwide presence, and its smartphone business has been a powerful growth engine. JD.com, a challenger to Alibaba, has benefited from the expansion of its mobile offering, the extension of its e-commerce platform and partnerships with international brands.
For the first time, brands owned by private companies contributed more than half (51 percent) of the value of the top 100, evidence of China's continuing transition to a market economy.
The report said brands had taken advantage of the government encouraging innovation and development of new technology, and also of the growing wealth of Chinese consumers.
The figures demonstrate how resilient strong brands are in times of economic turbulence -- China's GDP growth was 6.9 percent in 2015, down from 7.3 percent the previous year.
Chinese brands are now as competitive as multinationals, according to the report. They score more highly on two of the key factors that create competitive advantage -- building brand awareness, and connecting with consumers on both a functional and emotional level -- but lag behind on differentiation.
The increasing power of home-grown brands may help stem the current outflow of capital from China that is concerning economists, it added.