Apple, Google see reputation of corporate brands tumble in survey

Google and Apple's brand reputations have dropped. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Apple, Google see reputation of corporate brands tumble in survey

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc’s Google corporate brands dropped in an annual survey while Amazon.com Inc. maintained the top spot for the third consecutive year, and electric carmaker Telsa Inc. rocketed higher after sending a red Roadster into space.
IPhone maker Apple dropped to 29th from its previous position of No. 5, and Google dropped from 8th to No. 28. Apple had ranked No. 2 as recently as 2016, according to the annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient poll released on Tuesday.
The poll, conducted since 1999, surveyed 25,800 US adults from Dec. 11 to Jan. 12 on the reputations the “most visible” corporate brands.
John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, told Reuters in an interview that the likely reason Apple and Google fell was that they have not introduced as many attention-grabbing products as they did in past years, such as when Google rolled out free offerings like its Google Docs word processor or Google Maps and Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
“Google and Apple, at this moment, are sort of in valleys,” Gerzema said. “We’re not quite to self-driving cars yet. We’re not yet seeing all the things in artificial intelligence they’re going to do.”
Meanwhile, Amazon.com held on to the No. 1 spot, which it has held for five years with the exception of 2015, when it slipped to No. 2. Gerzema attributed Amazon’s ranking to its expanding footprint in consumers’ lives into areas like groceries via its Whole Foods acquisition.
Elon Musk’s Tesla climbed from No. 9 to No. 3 on the strength of sending Tesla Roadster into space aboard a SpaceX rocket — despite fleeting success delivering cars on time on earth, Gerzema said.
“He’s a modern-day carnival barker — it’s incredible,” Gerzema said of Musk. “This ‘The Right Stuff’ attitude is able to capture the public’s imagination when every news headline is incredibly negative. They’re filling a void of optimism.”
For its part, Facebook Inc’s reputation improved in the 2018 study, despite being the target of questions from US lawmakers about the role of social media in Russia’s efforts to influence the US presidential election in 2016. Facebook ranked 51st, its best showing since 2014 when it ranked 38th, the highest the firm ever ranked in the poll.
This year, film production company The Weinstein Co. made its debut at 99th out of 100 on the list after more than 70 women accused co-founder Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including rape. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
Last place went to Japanese auto parts supplier Takata Corp. , whose air bags can explode with too much force and have been linked to at least 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries, prompting the largest recall in automotive history and forcing Takata and its US unit, TK Holdings Inc, into bankruptcy.
1. Amazon.com 2. Wegmans Food Markets Inc. 3. Tesla Motors 4. Chick-fil-A 5. The Walt Disney Co. 6. HEB Grocery Company LP 7. United Parcel Service Inc. 8. Publix Super Markets 9. Patagonia Inc. 10. Aldi Inc


Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi lowers target as it kicks off IPO

Updated 13 min 54 sec ago
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Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi lowers target as it kicks off IPO

HONG KONG: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi kicked off its initial public offering Thursday but the firm is likely to pull in about $6.1 billion, far less than originally expected, with investors having mixed views about its main business.
Xiaomi had hoped to raise $10 billion with the Hong Kong IPO, making it the biggest since Alibaba’s $25 billion New York debut in 2014 and valuing the company at about $100 billion.
However, the firm is offering 2.18 billion shares at HK$17-HK$22 apiece, according to Bloomberg News, which values it at about $53.9-$69.8 billion.
Xiaomi had hoped to be the first company to list shares in Hong Kong at the same time as launching new Chinese Depository Receipts (CDRs) in Shanghai under new rules announced in April by mainland authorities to open up markets in the world’s number two economy.
But on Tuesday it put off its decision on listing the CDRs until it completes its IPO in Hong Kong. The China Securities Regulatory Commission said it has canceled a listing review originally scheduled for June 19.
This delay, as well as differing market views about Xiaomi’s business model, were also among reasons for the lower valuation.
CEO Lei Jun claimed it was an Internet services company making money via online games and advertisements despite 70 percent of its revenues coming from selling hardware, particularly smartphones.
The firm, which mainly sells cheap but high-quality smartphones in China, is looking to push into Europe — recently opening its first flagship store in Paris — as the home market reaches saturation point.
China Mobile and US wireless-chip giant Qualcomm are among the cornerstone investors and it is expected to list on July 9.
Chinese authorities devised the CDR program, under which homegrown companies listed abroad can simultaneously list at home, after watching technology heavyweights Alibaba and Baidu list on Wall Street.
The objectives of the plan include helping to develop China’s still relatively immature and volatile share markets while allowing domestic investors to invest in the country’s big tech champions.
Alibaba and Hong Kong-listed Tencent have expressed an interest in the plan.
Xiaomi shipped 28 million smartphones worldwide from January to March, an 88-percent surge year-on-year.
That was fourth in the world after Samsung, Apple and China’s Huawei, according to figures from the International Data Corporation.