Collectively they are known in marketing circles as tech’s "fearsome five", and they dominate the 2017 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands survey.

Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook have taken top spots in the survey — the first of the big valuation studies to be released this year.

Nine of the top 10 are technology-related brands, as are all seven of the newcomers to the top 100 list — XFinity, YouTube, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Salesforce, Netflix, Snapchat and Sprint.

And while no locally based brands feature prominently, Chinese brand Tencent, with increased use of its social platform WeChat, has entered the top 10 for the first time, with a brand-value increase of 27% to US$108.3bn. Local media giant Naspers has a significant stake in the company, now the world’s fourth-largest Internet operation.

The survey is conducted by marketing and brand consultancy Kantar Millward Brown, and is in its 12th year. The study combines measures of brand equity based on interviews with more than 3m consumers globally about thousands of global consumer-facing and business-to-business brands, with analysis of the financial and business performance of each company.

One local marketing director notes: "While no SA brands operate on the scale and reach of the top 10, it gives local companies an opportunity to benchmark against macro trends. And there is no doubt that tech brands are in the ascendency globally and in Africa."

Google, Apple and Microsoft retain the top three positions, having grown their brand value 7% to $245.6bn, 3% to $234.7bn and 18% to $143.2bn, respectively, over the past year. Facebook, in fifth, grew 27% to $129.8bn. Amazon, in fourth place, achieved the highest dollar-value growth of all brands in the top 100 — up $40.3bn (41%) to $139.3bn.

Millward Brown says: "The retail giant has continued to focus on its technology ecosystem, honed to meet multiple consumer needs such as online shopping, rapid delivery and entertainment, as well as introducing new artificial intelligence-enabled services."

Sports brand Adidas was the fastest riser by percentage growth: 58% to $8.3bn.

This year, the total brand value of the top 100 brands has risen 8% to $3.64 trillion, against 3% in 2016. The BrandZ top 10 in 2017 are worth almost as much as the entire top 100 of 2006 ($1.42 trillion vs $1.44 trillion), and have grown 249% in value against 152% for the top 100 as a whole.

Retail was the fastest-rising category, up 14% in value over the past 12 months. It has been driven by e-commerce brands such as Amazon and Alibaba which, like many native Internet companies, continued to add physical stores to their sales channels.

The technology category grew 13%, while fast food was this year’s third-highest growing category, at 7%. The leading brands have introduced fresh food and value menus as well as customer touch-points that enhance the brand experience.

By region, US brands dominated the ranking, with 54 brands in the BrandZ Top 100, worth 71% of the total brand value.

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