Brands as a nation: An analysis of overseas media engagement of top Chinese brands

Ouyang Chen, Sonya Song, Mike Z. Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exposure and engagement to the media coverage of Chinese brands among average consumers outside of the domestic Chinese market can serve as an important measure of China’s global influence. In this study, we analyzed the audience engagement of online articles about the top 20 Chinese brands from over 5000 web publishers around the world in a period of 5 months from October 2017 to February 2018. Specific results from our analyses point to a lack of sustained effort, careful coordination, and proper control in these companies’ public relations and crisis communication. The study also reveals a larger problem in China’s public diplomacy efforts. The top Chinese firms, despite their high market value, are yet to establish soft influence internationally. The global media engagements of Chinese companies are largely driven, passively, by special events and crises. Moreover, our study offers a new way of studying China and global media by leveraging large sets of industry data and adopting a set of audience matrices commonly used by media publishers to examine social science research questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-39
Number of pages18
JournalGlobal Media and China
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Big data
  • branding
  • country of origin effect
  • globalization
  • international and intercultural communication
  • media engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication


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