Bernard Lee

Singapore crowned as # 1 most valuable Nations Brand in ASEAN in Brand Finance Top 100 Nations Brand Ranking

Press Release   •   Dec 09, 2013 21:46 +08

Brand Finance Asia Pacific Managing Director, Samir Dixit says that “A strong nation brand contributes to the success of the local brands from the country in more ways than one. A strong country brand also helps drive global preference across various projects and initiatives that the country gets involved in”. He added that “A strong nation brand is a symbol of overall success and growth of the nation and must be driven strategically with a structured approach”.

He further adds that “Brand Finance estimates that strong nation branding can add between 1% and 5% to GNP. In the current economic environment no sensible government can afford to ignore branding as an instrument of economic policy.”

Singapore remains ASEAN’s most valuable brand. 38% nation brand value growth this year brings its total to $404 billion. Undoubtedly one of the world’s strongest brands, Singapore’s historic strength in education means it performs particularly well in the People & Skills input of Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index. A welcoming tax regime, excellent infrastructure and stable society mean it also continues to top the rankings for ‘Investment’. 

Malaysia is this year’s fastest mover; its brand value is up 48% on 2012. Reasons for its rapid climb up the nation brand rankings include its growing status as a hub for Islamic banking and growing demand for commodities such as palm oil, driven by an increasing and increasingly wealthy world population. Malaysia’s ambitious ‘Wawasan’ or ‘Vision’ 2020 goal, to reach developed nation status by 2020, had looked to have been faltering, however in the last year Prime Minister Najib Razak said progress towards the target is firmly back on track, with GDP per capita set to reach the milestone US$15000 by 2018, 2 years ahead of target.

Thailand has achieved the highest score in the tourism input of Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index. Hospitable people, winter sun, unspoilt beaches and heritage combined are its many enticing offerings. It is the 3rd fastest mover with 43% growth. The kingdom’s total brand value is up $107 billion to $359 billion.

Vietnam’s total brand value now stands at $133 billion and it has jumped 2 places overall to 44th. The high inflation of recent times has been brought under control and exports of textiles and electronics are booming. Emulating China, state capitalism has had a transformative effect on Vietnam and it continues to establish an increasingly wealthy middle class. GDP per capita is up 14% this year and internet penetration has increased from 27.6% to 35.1% in 2013. Brand strength has improved across the board but in particular in the tourism sector. A trip SE Asia used to almost invariably mean Thailand. Now several, equally attractive countries such as Vietnam are benefitting both from Westerners looking to less crowded, underexplored regions and the growth of the Chinese middle class.

Indonesia is in the top 10 most improved for both the ‘Investment’ and ‘Goods & Services’ inputs of Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index. It is up one place overall following 31% brand value growth to $339 billion. 14% GDP growth points to healthy growth for Indonesia though the picture has been slightly more mixed in recent months, with domestic consumption down and the rupiah sliding against the dollar.

The Philippines’ nation brand value is up 37% to a total of $52 billion. Strongly improving metrics from the IMD World Competitiveness Report on image abroad and from the World Economic Forum on the corporate governance and perceptions of corruption are partly responsible. The country has made great progress in attracting investors and so has achieved the biggest rise in the ‘Investment’ input of the Brand Finance Brand Strength Index of any country. Improving educational standards and the young, rapidly growing population of the Catholic country has seen an improvement in the ‘People & Skills’ category too.

Burma is finally opening up to the world after decades of isolation. Tentative political and economic reforms have meant the easing of sanctions and now global investors are piling in. Telecoms and technology companies in particular regard the country as the last great unexploited market, with mobile penetration of only 7%. Though not yet large enough to break into the top 100, we expect Burma to soar up the rankings over the next few years as so many other ASEAN Nation Brands have.

Amongst the rest of the world, The US is the world’s most valuable nation brand. It has surged further ahead of rival nations, with brand value up 23% to $17.99 trillion. China is the world’s 2nd most valuable nation brand, followed by Germany, the UK, Japan & France in that order, but Brand USA is more valuable than all of these nations’ brands combined. Other success stories include Ireland (brand value growth of 35%), Turkey (41%), Sri Lanka (46%), Kazakhstan (37%), Australia (32%) and New Zealand (36%).

Countries which have not fared so well include Japan, which has suffered an 11% drop in nation brand value as the country continues to recover from the fallout of the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Cyprus is this year’s fastest faller. Its well publicised and disastrous financial crisis is unsurprisingly the main factor. Egypt’s nation brand value has also dropped 38% as a result of the instability following the country’s revolution. 

Samir Dixit further highlights that “We have often seen too many individual departments like the tourism department, economic development boards’, Ministry of Trade and Development etc driving their own agenda for the economic contribution towards the nation’s growth with no measure of how much they are actually contributing to the value and strength of the Nation brand. This needs to fundamentally change and there has to be a KPI measure of how much each government body is contributing to the overall value growth of the Nations brand and at what cost.”

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance commented “A strong brand has become a defining feature of success in the current economic climate. Worldwide hyper competition for business, combined with an increasingly cluttered media environment, means that the clear message carried by a properly managed brand can provide the crucial leverage needed to thrive. Nations can adopt similar techniques to capitalise on the economic growth that comes with proper positioning of a nation brand.”

The full report, with summaries of the top performers, fastest fallers and trends can be found at

BrandFinance® Nation Brands 2013 – ASEAN

Overall Rank 2013

ASEAN Rank 2013

Nation Brand

Brand Value 2013 (USDbn)

Brand Rating 2013

Brand Value Change (USDbn)

Brand Value Change (%)

Brand Value 2012 (USDbn)

Brand Rating 2012
































































About Brand Finance

Brand Finance plc, the world's leading brand valuation consultancy, advises strongly branded organisations on maximising their brand value through effective management of their brands and intangible assets. Founded in 1996, Brand Finance has performed thousands of branded business, brand and intangible asset valuations worth trillions of dollars.

Its clients include international brand owners, tax authorities, Intellectual Property lawyers and investment banks. Its work is frequently peer-reviewed by the big four audit practices and its reports have been accepted by various regulatory bodies, including the UK Takeover Panel.

Brand Finance is headquartered in London and has a network of international offices in Amsterdam, Bangalore, Barcelona, Cape Town, Colombo, Dubai, Geneva, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lisbon, Madrid, Moscow, New York, Paris, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Singapore, Toronto and Zagreb.