A visitor looks at products on display at the booth of Bright Dairy and Food on May 31. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Companies engaged in retail and culture activities in Shanghai have yet to develop strong brand awareness compared with those involved in services and manufacturing, a recently published brand innovation list shows.

The list tracking the top 100 prominent brands in the city was published last month by Fudan University’s School of Management and the Shanghai Institute of Corporate Culture and Brand.

The Bund China Brand Innovation List, which is now in its third year, evaluates the value of 15,110 brands through a comprehensive matrix by analyzing their marketing input, synergies between marketing and innovation, as well as the ability to manage brands.

Of the top 50 Shanghai brands, 23 are owned by manufacturing enterprises and 22 come from the service sector. In contrast, only four retailers made it to the top 50, whereas Oriental Pearl became the only representative to be chosen in the cultural sphere.

“The findings seem a far cry from Shanghai’s bid to build itself into a cosmopolitan shopping center and a thriving cultural hub,” said Jiang Qingyun, a marketing professor at the School of Management at Fudan University.

Just five so-called time-honored brands, imbued with cultural significance, made the list – Shanghai Lao Feng Xiang Jewelry, Bright Dairy& Food, Shanghai Jahwa United Co Ltd, Bailian Group Co Ltd and Shanghai Yuyuan Tourist Mart Co Ltd.

Automaker SAIC Motor was the top-performing awardee both among manufacturers and across all Shanghai-based brands, indicating its unrivaled branding strategy is paying off.

The value of brands for the top 10 players amounted to 508.5 billion yuan ($73.5 billion), accounting for 46.5 percent of all those on the list.

The list was unveiled during the International Forum on China Brand Development held in Shanghai on May 10, the annual China Brand Day since 2017.

Speakers attending the event urged that more efforts should be made in the globalization of Chinese brands so local companies can move up higher in the global value chain.

Chinese brands will improve consumer choice worldwide. But it should be noted that the recognition of Chinese manufacturing brands is not on a par with the industry’s scale and capacity.

Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang said that globally well-known brands cannot be built in haste. The government will help local companies better establish their brands overseas, taking advantage of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, to allow local companies to access the world’s mid to high-end value chain.

During the event, domestic electronics giant Lenovo showcased its latest progress in smart applications for offices, homes and transportation. The firm’s vice-president, Wang Chuandong, explained that there are three criteria to define a truly international brand: products available in at least half the world’s markets, a grasp of world-leading technology and products or brands winning recognition in mainstream markets.