Amazon dethrones Google as top global brand: survey

The leading brands have embraced ‘disruptive’ business models to beat traditional rivals in the technology, finance and retail sectors. (Reuters)
Updated 11 June 2019

Amazon dethrones Google as top global brand: survey

  • The brand value of Amazon surged by 52 percent to $315 billion
  • Brand value on the key survey is calculated on the basis of the companies’ financial performance and their standing among consumers across the globe

LONDON: US retail giant Amazon has moved past hi-tech titans Apple and Google to become the world’s most valuable brand, a key survey showed Tuesday.
The brand value of Amazon surged by 52 percent to $315 billion, global market research agency Kantar said in its 2019 100 Top BrandZ report.
Amazon jumped from third to first place to eclipse Google — which slid from first to third place with Apple holding on to the second spot.
The Seattle-based retail behemoth, founded by Jeff Bezos in his garage in 1994, topped the table thanks to key acquisitions, superior customer services and a disruptive business model, Kantar said in a statement.
“Amazon’s smart acquisitions, that have led to new revenue streams, excellent customer service provision and its ability to stay ahead of its competitors by offering a diverse ecosystem of products and services, have allowed Amazon to continuously accelerate its brand value growth,” said Kantar.
The agency, which is owned by British advertising group WPP, added that Amazon showed “little sign” of any slowdown in its growth.
The top ten companies were once again dominated by US firms, with Apple on $309.5 billion, Google on $309 billion and Microsoft on $251 billion.
Payments specialist Visa had the fifth biggest value at almost $178 billion, while social networking group Facebook was the sixth largest at nearly $159 billion.
For the first time, Alibaba beat Tencent to become the most valuable Chinese brand.
E-commerce leader Alibaba was the seventh biggest at $131.2 billion, up two places on the previous year.
Internet giant Tencent fell three spots to stand at number eight with a value of $130.9 billion.
In a sign of Asia’s growing importance, 23 of the top 100 brands were Asian — including 15 from China.
The leading brands have embraced “disruptive” business models to beat traditional rivals in the technology, finance and retail sectors.
“Amazon’s phenomenal brand value growth of almost $108 billion in the last year demonstrates how brands are now less anchored to individual categories and regions,” said Doreen Wang, Kantar’s global head of BrandZ.
“The boundaries are blurring as technology fluency allow brands, such as Amazon, Google and Alibaba, to offer a range of services across multiple consumer touchpoints.
“Using their consumer experience and expertise, these brands are crossing over into the business services sector, creating new opportunities for brand growth.
“Disruptive ecosystem models are flourishing in regions such as Asia, where consumers are more technology-enabled and where brands are integrating themselves into every aspect of people’s daily lives.”
Brand value on the key survey is calculated on the basis of the companies’ financial performance and their standing among consumers across the globe.


UBS fined $51 million by Hong Kong regulator for overcharging clients

Updated 11 November 2019

UBS fined $51 million by Hong Kong regulator for overcharging clients

  • Hong Kong regulator’s investigation exposed ‘serious systemic internal control failures’ at the bank
  • In March, the Securities and Futures Commission banned UBS from leading initial public offerings in Hong Kong for a year

HONG KONG: Swiss bank UBS was fined HK$400 million ($51.09 million) by Hong Kong’s securities regulator for overcharging up to 5,000 clients for nearly a decade, the watchdog said on Monday.
The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said in a statement that an investigation found UBS had overcharged clients on ‘post-trade spread increases’ and charges in excess of standard disclosures and rates between 2008 and 2017.
THE SFC said the investigation exposed ‘serious systemic internal control failures’ at the bank. UBS had failed to disclose conflicts of interests and had overcharged some clients in ‘opaque’ trades, it said.
The overcharging affected 5000 Hong Kong managed client accounts in about 28,700 transactions, it said.
UBS has also agreed to repay the clients HK$200 million, the SFC said.
The regulator said the over-charging occurred in the bank’s wealth management division on bond and structured notes transactions.
UBS was found to have increased the spread charged after the execution of a trade without the clients’ knowledge, it said.
In the statement, the SFC said UBS was also found to have falsified some account statements which were issued to financial intermediaries who were authorized to trade for the clients to “conceal the overcharges.”
UBS said the issues were ‘self-reported’ to the SFC and the results found were against the bank’s standard practice.
“The relevant conduct predominantly relates to limit orders of certain debt securities and structured note transactions, which account for a very small percentage of the bank’s order processing system,” the bank said in a statement.
SFC chief executive Ashley Alder said while each “overcharge represented a fraction of each trade” the bank’s “misconduct involved decisions and a pervasive abuse of trust resulting in significant additional revenue for UBS to which it was not entitled.”
In March, the SFC banned UBS from leading initial public offerings in Hong Kong for a year after it found the bank, and some of its rivals, had failed to carry out sufficient due diligence on a number of deals.
UBS was fined HK$375 million while Morgan Stanley was fined HK$224 million, Merrill Lynch HK$128 million and Standard Chartered (StanChart) HK$59.7 million, all for failures when sponsoring, or leading, public market floats.