Brand Finance logo

Bank of China – the Nation’s Most Trusted Bank

22 September 2017
This article is more than 6 years old.

· Brand Finance launches banking market research on China’s bank brands

· Chinese banks enjoy an average trust score of 77.0% compared to 64.9% recorded by US banks

· Bank of China is the nation’s most trustworthy bank with a score of 86.4%

· China Merchants Bank is the most popular bank to switch to, with 24.3% of respondents choosing it over other brands

Brand Finance conducted research on bank brands in 22 markets to see how customers’ opinions have changed in an era of major disruption to the industry. As global banks retreated after the Great Recession, the traditional banking model has changed. The prevailing trends suggest fintechs and niche “challenger banks” are biting into banks’ profits and luring their customers away with better quality service at lower prices. Traditional banks tend not to be set up as quick innovators. Instead, they compete for customers’ trust and our research indicates which banks are the most trustworthy.

China’s banking sector has generally exhibited consistently strong results. Now, the country’s banks have more assets than those of the Eurozone for the first time. Brand Finance’s banking market research shows that the 2016 average trust score for Chinese banks was an impressive 77.0%, compared to 64.9% in the US and a meagre-by-comparison 47.0% in Spain. China has recently pitched the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative as a way of promoting economic prosperity. The program will stretch into 60 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, bridging the ‘infrastructure gap’ and accelerating economic growth. Chinese banks stand to benefit largely from this project and their overall trust score may rise in the future.

Bank of China is the nation’s most trustworthy bank, with a score of 86.4%. In early 2016, the bank began restructuring its Southeast Asian operations, with its Hong Kong business set to acquire the Malaysian and Thai units. The transactions enable further enhancement of the bank’s regional customer service capabilities, boost product innovation, and accelerate growth in the ASEAN region. Furthermore, the bank reported a net profit increase in both Q1 and Q3 of 2016, growing 1.7% and 2%, respectively. Bank of China was also considered the second most popular bank to switch to, with a score of 23.9%. The combination of its business strategy and performance fully reinforces its position across the various categories in our research.

China Merchants Bank (CMB) is the only bank to surpass Bank of China as the most popular bank for consumers to switch to, achieving a score of 24.3%. It is the second most trustworthy bank with a score of 83.2%, falling slightly behind Bank of China. CMB has embraced technology in order to stay competitive whilst maintaining the need for human connection. Back in 2013, the bank integrated with WeChat to provide financial features to its customers within the messaging app, leaving behind the traditional SMS feature. The integration allows customers to check their bills, credits, limits or transaction records. It also recently launched its CMB Mobile Banking and CMB Life apps to supplement existing services. CMB operates with a ‘customer-centric’ service philosophy and it is clear that their decisions are based on providing the best service to customers. The increased digital presence, its ‘humanity’, and ease in customer usability are, in part, the reasons for the bank’s impressive scores.


Note to Editors

Brand Finance researched 19,000 people in 22 markets. We asked the respondents to state which bank they were a customer of and whether they were likely to switch to a competing bank brand by selecting Might/Very Likely or Might Not/Very Unlikely. Bank brands with the highest proportion of customers “very likely” to switch are those with the least loyal customers. Whereas, others can boast a loyal customer base if the respondents were, in majority, “very unlikely” to switch.

We asked the respondents separately to state if they considered particular bank brands to be trustworthy. The samples were randomly selected and consisted on average of over 850 respondents representative of each market. The data was gathered with the help of online questionnaires and completed in November 2016, ahead of the release of the Brand Finance Banking 500 in February 2017.


Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671 and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Brand Finance evaluates brand strength in a process compliant with ISO 20671, looking at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance. The data used is derived from Brand Finance’s proprietary market research programme and from publicly available sources.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, while in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Discount post-tax brand revenues to a net present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Get in Touch