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Most Valuable South Korean Brands Revealed

19 October 2017
This article is more than 6 years old.

· Samsung is the nation’s most valuable with a brand value of US$51.4 billion

· Samsung Fire & Marine, second fastest growing brand, is up 42% in value

· Hyundai looks to eco-friendly cars, a beneficial move for its brand value

· South Korea among top 10 most valuable nation brands in the world, following record growth

Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the brands of thousands of the world’s biggest companies. A brand’s strength is assessed (based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, preference, sustainability and margins) to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand. This is projected into perpetuity and discounted to determine the brand’s value. The 50 most valuable South Korean brands are included in the Brand Finance South Korea 50 league table.

View the list of South Korea’s 50 most valuable brands here

Samsung comes out victorious as the nation’s most valuable and powerful brand. Its brand value is up 12% to US$51.4 billion – more than five times the value of the second most valuable brand. The consumer electronics giant predicted a near 50% jump in its fourth quarter operating profit in 2016. Its components business is expected to offset declines in its mobile unit as a result of the discontinuation of its Galaxy Note 7. The Korean won fell 8.73% against the dollar in the fourth quarter of 2016 and this, coupled with higher memory chip prices and increased volume due to greater demand, could see Samsung’s components business excel further, thus positively impacting the brand’s value.

Samsung Fire & Marine, the second fastest growing South Korean brand this year, is up 42% to US$2.7 billion. It had an impressive 2016; its operating profit rose 209% year-on-year to 362 billion won, sales rose 3.2% to 1.48 trillion won and net profit increased 213.3% to 284.9 billion won. Its brand value is, undoubtedly, partially a result of its incredible performance.

Hyundai’s performance has not fared as well as Samsung’s, in spite of the fact that the former is South Korea’s second most valuable brand with a value of US$8.8 billion, up 4% from the previous year. In 2016, the car manufacturer reported a 39% drop in the fourth quarter net profit to 1 trillion won (US$858 million), the lowest value in seven years. The company has attributed the loss to the July-September strike which resulted in increased production costs and cost Hyundai 95,400 vehicles worth of output. Furthermore, demand in its home and US market waned and sales levels suffered. Sales in the latter market may slip further in the future as President Trump could impose high tariffs on vehicles shipped into the US.

Despite the negativity, Hyundai has now announced that it will further expand its SUV range to include an electric version of one of its models. This is part of the brand’s ‘eco-development roadmap’ that will feature low and zero emission vehicles to 31 global models in total by 2020. As environmental awareness becomes more prominent, it is important for brands to embrace and implement an improved business strategy to reflect the shift. Hyundai’s proposed initiative is certainly a step in the right direction and may push its brand value and strength up in the future.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented: “The world’s eyes are currently on the situation in the Korean peninsula and it is vital that the value and resilience of home-grown South Korean brands is recognised. Their success has contributed to the record growth of South Korea’s nation brand. Following 43% increase this year to US$1.8 trillion, South Korea joined the club of the top 10 most valuable nation brands in the world. In a virtuous circle, corporate brands and the national image of South Korea are reinforcing each other and further add to the country’s attractiveness.”


Note to Editors

Brand values are reported in USD. For conversions into local currency, please consult the hover over the ‘i’ button on the web version of the table and select.

View the list of South Korea’s 50 most valuable brands here. Read more about the Brand Finance Nation Brands report here.


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.

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