China’s Economic Performance, Brand Strength and Reputation

China’s Nation Brand is strategically positioned as a dynamic blend of ancient heritage, economic prowess, and technological innovation. China’s rich tapestry of traditional arts, cuisine, and philosophies further contributes to its global influence.

How does the world’s second most populous and second largest economy fare in terms of ease of doing business, attracting talent, and protecting the environment? Does China’s regional dominance affect its brand reputation? Let’s explore how China shapes its narrative on the world stage, drawing insights from data provided by TPBO partners and other reputable institutions.

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • China’s soft power and brand strength
  • Its appeal to skilled labor, investors and visitors
  • The country’s global contribution to peace and wellbeing
  • How well it fares in terms of happiness and sustainability

China’s soft power and brand strength

How does China compare in terms of reputation and brand value globally?

In the Global Soft Power Index 2024 by Brand Finance, China secures the 3rd spot, jumping two positions from the previous year. This year, China records a rapid rise in Soft Power, overtaking Germany to claim the third position behind USA (1st) and UK (2nd). China’s score has shown growth, rising from 65 in 2023 to 71.2 this year.

In the U.S. News Best Countries 2023 ranking, China secures the 20th position, behind Belgium (18th) and the UAE (19th). Notably, China excels in three key areas: power (2nd) assessing leadership and military strength; movers (6th) assessing distinctiveness, dynamism, and uniqueness; and entrepreneurship (8th) assessing technological expertise, digital infrastructure, and a skilled labor force. China’s ranking has dropped three positions from the previous ranking. 

The Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brand Index (NBI) calculates its ranking based on averaging the scores of six different factors: exports, governance, tourism, culture, people and immigration, and tourism. According to the NBI 2023 ranking China secures the 31st position, jumping two positions from the previous ranking.


Appeal to digital nomads, business, trade and travel

What is the global perception of China as a destination for living, conducting business, and tourism?

The Expat Insider 2023 ranks China in the 26th position. The country performs well in the Travel and Transit (6th) and the Personal Finance (10th) metrics.

As per the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2023, China secures the 2nd position for FDI inflows in 2022, sitting right behind the US. Their inflows experienced a 5% increase this past year, mounting to a record high sum of USD 189 billion. In terms of FDI outflows, China ranks 3rd in 2022, a drop of one position from 2021, as China’s overall outflows decreased by 18% this year which led to the rise of Japan in 2nd place.

The Bloom Consulting biannual Country Brand Ranking Trade Edition 2022-2023 assesses investment-related variables, emphasizing perceptions of a country’s trade-specific brand and evaluating branding performance. Regionally, China leaves the throne and now holds the 2nd place, despite improvement in D2- Digital Demand © and social media performance, the drop is due to the lower Net FDI inflows. Globally, China secured the 7th position, a drop of four positions from the previous ranking.

In addition, the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2022-2023 places China at the 28th global position, a harsh drop of fifteen positions. This drastic change is due to Covid-19 originating in the city of Wuhan which led to a dramatic decrease in website performance, CBS Rating ©, D2 – Digital Demand © search, social media performance, as well as tourism receipts. Regionally, China now holds the 8th position, dropping four places from the previous ranking.

In the IMD 2023 World Competitiveness Ranking, China secured the 21st dropping four positions from the 2022 ranking. Currently, it sits behind Australia (19th) and Luxembourg (20th) while surpassing Germany (22nd) and Israel (23rd).

In terms of specific characteristics, China ranks 8th in economic performance, dropping four positions from the 2022 ranking. It holds the 35th position for government efficiency, experiencing a drop of six positions compared to 2022. China dropped another six positions to the 21st position for business efficiency, and maintained the 21st spot for infrastructure.


Is China a “Good Country”?

What is China’s contribution to global peace and wellbeing?

In the Good Country Index, China currently holds the 69th position overall, with notable subfactors as follows: Science & Technology (79th), Culture (120th), International Peace & Security (69th), World Order (107th), Planet & Climate (50th), Prosperity & Equality (88th), and Health & Wellbeing (57th). It’s worth mentioning that in 2022, China was ranked 60th, and in 2021, it held the 61st position.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index 2023, China ranked in the red zone (1-2 range) with a 1.94 out of 10.

The 2022 Corruption Perception Index ranks China 45th, tying with Cuba, Montenegro and Sao Tome and Principe. China’s score has maintained the same since 2021.

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 ranks China 63rd, it highlights that China continues to face significant and major challenges in quite a few of the 17 SDGs. However, the factors of No Poverty and Quality of Education have both reached SDG achievement status while theClean Water and Sanitation factor is on track.


Peace and happiness

Is China a happy and safe place to invest time and money in?

The Global Peace Index 2023 ranks China 80th, jumping six positions from the previous year, meaning it sits in the medium sector of the ‘State of Peace’ spectrum as defined by the Institute for Economics & Peace. China sits in between Nepal (79th) and Tunisia (81st). China is positioned 14th regionally amongst its fellow Asia-Pacific countries, led by New Zealand and Singapore.

The Institute for Economics & Peace similarly ranks China within the no impact zone in terms of ‘Impact of Terrorism’ in the 2022 Global Terrorism Index. China ranks 93rd, sitting amongst many different countries in last place.

Meanwhile, the World Happiness Report 2023 which displays the Ranking of Happiness based on a three-year-average 2020–2022 ranks China 64th; however this data is only averaged from 2020 and 2021 surveys as no data was able to be collected for 2022.


Environmental performance

How well does China perform in terms of environmental sustainability?

The 2022 edition of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks China 160th. The EPI analyzes the performance of 180 countries, scoring and ranking these countries on their environmental performance using the most recent year of data available as well as providing calculable changes in scores over the previous decade. China has experienced a change in score of positive 11.4.


Talent attraction and competitiveness in China

How attractive is China for international talent?

The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index 2019 edition placed China at the 28th position among 141 countries. However, it’s important to note that an updated version of this report hasn’t been released in the past 5 years, and rankings may have shifted since then.

China, classified as a upper middle income country within the Eastern/South-Eastern Asia & Oceania regional group, currently holds the 40th position in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023. Notably, China ranks best in the Grow pillar (15th) while the Attract pillar presents to be its biggest challenge where it ranked 91st.

In terms of education excellence, China boasts seven universities within the top 100 worldwide, according to the World University Rankings 2024. These esteemed institutions are: Tsinghua University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, University of Science and Technology of China and Nanjing University.


China as Nation Brand

How well is China performing as a nation brand?

Brand Finance’s Nation Brands Index 2022 ranks China 2nd with a brand value of USD 21.5 trillion behind the USA.

In 2020, China suffered significantly from the first wave of COVID-19 infections, and in 2021 they were seen to have successfully rolled out vaccinations and managed to contain the virus. After the extraordinary one-year decline in their international perceptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, countries like the USA, France, the UK, and Japan own a spot in the top 10 brand strength ranking whereas China claims the 15th place.


Last updated in March 2024. More country profiles here.


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