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Lindsay Beltzer
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Global Marketing & Communications
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Interbrand Releases 2nd Annual Best Korea Brands Report

  • Korea’s Top 50 brands are worth USD $101.261 billion
  • The combined brand value of the top five brands, Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motors, Kia Motors, SK Telecom, and POSCO, is USD $5.967 billion This accounts for 59 percent of the total brand value of the top 50 brands in Korea
  • Despite the continuing economic recession, the automotive, retail and IT-Telcom industries grew by 21 percent, 15 percent and 20 percent respectively

SEOUL, Korea (20 February 2014) – Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy, has released its 2014 Best Korea Brands report, a ranking of the top 50 most valuable Korean brands.

The total value of Korea’s top 50 brands is worth USD $101.261 billion. When compared to Japan’s top 30 brands, a comparative analysis revealed that Korea’s top 30 brands (USD $94.105 billion) is equivalent to 82 percent of Japan’s top 30 brands (USD $114.762 billion). *

* Comparative analysis is based on an exchange rate of USD 1 = KRW 1,093.7 (average annual currency of 2013)

Top five brands including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai closely match Japan’s top five brands

Samsung Electronics, the largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world, takes the number one spot and has increased its brand value by 23 percent to USD $39.610 billion. Following in the second spot is Hyundai Motors which raised its brand value by 23 percent to USD $9.004 billion. Kia Motors, ranking third, also showed strong momentum by enhancing its brand value by 18 percent to USD $4.708 billion. SK Telecom and POSCO ranked fourth and fifth by increasing their brand value by four percent and five percent respectively. The total value of the top five brands is USD $59.671 billion, which is equivalent to 79 percent of the value of Japan’s top 5 brands in the 2014 Japan’s Best Global Brands report.

The combined brand value of Samsung, Hyundai, and Kia, which were also a part of the 2013 Best Global Brands ranking, grew by 22.47 percent to USD $53.322 billion. These three brands account for 53 percent of the total brand value of the top 50 Korean brands, once again highlighting their prominence.

The sum of all subsidiary brands of Samsung and Hyundai is approximately $67 billion

Eight of Samsung’s subsidiaries, namely Samsung Electronics (+23%, #1), Samsung Life Insurance (+10%, #6), Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance (0%, #15), Samsung C&T (+11%, #23), newcomers Samsung Securities (#33), Hotel Shilla (#36), and Samsung Heavy Industries (#46) ranked in the top 50 Best Korea Brands. Ten corporate brands related to Hyundai including Hyundai Motors (+23%, #2), Kia Motors (+18%, #3), and new entrants Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance (#37), Hyundai Capital (#38), Hyundai Home Shopping (#48) appear on the top 50 list. Together, Samsung and Hyundai have a total of 18 brands ranked, worth USD $67.269 billion and account for 66 percent of the top 50 brands.

Financial services brands struggle as the banking industry continues to underperform

With seven new brands, including Samsung Securities (#33), Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance (#37), Hyundai Capital (#38), Mirae Asset (#43), Dongbu Insurance (#44), Hanwha Life Insurance (#42) and BC Card (#49), new to the top 50 list, the financial services sector represents a total of 16 brands included in the top 50 list.

However, the recent decline of consumer confidence triggered by occurrences such as breaches in data security, frequent change in c-level management and fraud has led to a 50 percent decrease in terms of net profit. Most notably, the combined brand value of KB Kookmin Bank (-2%, #9), Shinhan Bank (-10%, #12) and Hana Bank (-4%, #13), fell by 5.33 percent from USD $5.839 billion to USD $5.528 billion.

Construction brands grows while heavy industry brands fall

Despite the on-going recession in the construction, steel, and shipbuilding industries, the brand values of POSCO (+5%, #5), Samsung C&T (+11%, #23), and Hyundai Construction (+4%, #24) increased between two and thirteen percent compared to last year. In contrast, heavy industry brands such as Hyundai Heavy Industries (-3%, #14), LG Chemicals (-11%, #17), and SK Innovation (-4%, #26) saw their brand values decline between three and eleven percent. Doosan Infracore (#35) and S-Oil (#40) who have invested in active brand communications, have rightfully earned their place as newcomers to the top 50 list.

Mobile shopping and SNS pushes the retail industry forward

Increased use of the Internet along with improved performance of home and mobile shopping platforms help to bolster the growth and brand value of Korean retail brands. The top retail brands include Lotte Shopping (+18%, #18), E-Mart (#29), Hyundai Department Store (+2%, #30), and CJ O Shopping (#34). Most notably, E-Mart (#29), KT&G (#27) and Nongshim (#50) have entered the top 50 list, increasing the total number of retail brands in the top 50 list to 13 (only two retail brands were ranked in last year’s report: Lotte Shopping and Hyundai Department Store.)

The combined brand value of the retail brands in the top 30 is USD $5.038 billion. This is 4.26 percent higher than the combined brand value of retail brands in Best Japan Brands 2014. As retail brands begin to utilize various communication channels such as SNS to maximize customer experience, they have, in turn, enhanced their ability to communicate with their customers.

Brand activation to maximize customer experience is vital to success in the global market

“Interbrand is paying close attention to Korean brands which are quickly enhancing their brand management capabilities and strategies,” said Graham Hales, Interbrand’s Global Chief Marketing Officer. “We hope Korean brands do not limit themselves to traditional advertising, but instead focus on ‘activating’ their brands by maximizing customer experience.” Hales adds, “In order to grow into a renowned global brand, corporations should realize and act upon the premise that branding should not be restricted to external communication activities. All great brands start from within. It is important that every employee understands and believes in the brand.”

Jihun Moon, Chief Executive Officer of Interbrand Korea said, “The remarkable growth of IT-Telecom brands in spite of the continuing recession is worth paying attention to. Although the financial and heavy industries have stagnated, customer-centric industries such as retail have shown noticeable growth as well as their potential to become global brands. I hope that this report serves as a beacon of guidance for Korean brands - ultimately helping them to establish successful and unique brand strategies vital to becoming world-class brands.”

Interbrand’s 2014 Best Korea Brands

(USD $million)
1 1 Samsung Electronics Electronics 39,610 23%
2 2 Hyundai Motor Company Automotive 9,004 23%
3 3 Kia Motors Corporation Automotive 4,708 18%
4 4 SK Telecom Telecommunications 3,855 4%
5 5 POSCO Steel 2,494 5%
6 7 Samsung Life Insurance Insurance 2,476 10%
7 10 LG Electronics Electronics 2,392 25%
8 8 NAVER Internet Service 2,295 4%
9 6 KB Kookmin Bank Banking 2,264 -2%
10 9 Shinhan Card Financial Services 2,187 14%
11 12 Korea Telecom Telecommunications 1,825 5%
12 11 Shinhan Bank Banking 1,657 -10%
13 13 Hana Bank Banking 1,607 -4%
14 14 Hyundai Heavy Industries Heavy Industry 1,565 -3%
15 16 Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Insurance 1,551 0%
16 17 Hyundai Mobis Automotive 1,410 18%
17 15 LG Chem Chemical 1,402 -11%
18 18 Lotte Shopping Retail 1,313 18%
19 20 Amore Pacific FMCG 1,148 15%
20 19 Hyundai Card Financial Services 1,121 6%
21 21 Samsung Card Financial Services 1,121 6%
22 23 Kyobo Life Insurance Insurance 1,065 20%
23 22 Samsung C&T Construction 1,061 11%
24 24 Hyundai Engineering & Construction Construction 903 4%
25 26 Hankook Tire Automotive 779 16%
26 25 SK Innovation Energy 757 -4%
27 N/A KT&G Tobacco 747 NEW
28 28 LG Household & Health Care FMCG 616 22%
29 N/A Emart Retail 613 NEW
30 27 Hyundai Department Store Retail 601 2%
31 30 CJ Cheiljedang Food & Beverage 541 24%
32 N/A Hite Jinro Alcohol 471 5%
33 N/A Samsung Securities Securities 458 NEW
34 N/A CJ O Shopping Retail 407 NEW
35 N/A Doosan Infracore Heavy Industry 406 NEW
36 N/A Hotel Shilia Hospitality 399 NEW
37 N/A Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance Insurance 397 NEW
38 N/A Hyundai Capital Financial Services 358 NEW
39 N/A Lotte Himart Retail 348 NEW
40 N/A S-OIL Energy 347 NEW
41 N/A LG U+ Telecommunications 341 NEW
42 N/A Hanwha Life Insurance 340 NEW
43 N/A Mirae Asset Securities 336 NEW
44 N/A Dongbu Insurance Insurance 330 NEW
45 N/A CJ E&M Entertainment 308 NEW
46 N/A Samsung Heavy Industries Heavy Industry 298 NEW
47 N/A GS Shop Retail 289 NEW
48 N/A Hyundai Hmail Retail 271 NEW
49 N/A BC Card Financial Services 259 NEW
50 N/A Nongshim Food & Beverage 252 NEW

About Interbrand
Founded in 1974, Interbrand is the world’s leading brand consultancy. With nearly 40 offices in 27 countries, Interbrand’s combination of rigorous strategy, analytics, and world-class design enables it to assist clients in creating and managing brand value effectively, across all touchpoints, in all market dynamics. Interbrand is widely recognized for its annual Best Global Brands report, the definitive guide to the world’s most valuable brands, as well as its Best Global Green Brands report, which identifies the gap between customer perception and a brand’s performance relative to sustainability. It is also known for having created, a Webby-award winning resource about brand marketing and branding. For more information about Interbrand, please visit us at and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

For more information please contact:

Harry Woo
Senior Manager/ Planning and Business Development
+82 2 515 9150

New York
Lindsay Beltzer
Senior Associate, Global Marketing & Communications