Today marks the release of the third annual L2 Think Tank’s Digital IQ Index: China. This year’s study benchmarks the digital competence of 100 prestige brands across four dimensions: site, digital marketing, social media, and mobile. The China IQ Index also includes evaluation of market-specific platforms such as search engines (Baidu,, and social media channels (Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, Youku, Tudou, Renren, Kaixin and Douban). Based upon more than 800 data points, brands are classified into five categories: Genius, Gifted, Average, Challenged, or Feeble.

This year, beauty brand Estée Lauder takes the number one ranking across all categories in the study. The Genius brand leads in the market with deep social media penetration, sophisticated digital marketing, and best-in-class search strategies. Audi, Chow Tai Fook, and Lancôme were also named Genius brands.

For a full top 10 list, please see the chart below:

The 2012 study found beauty brands emerging as the digital stars in China. The average Digital IQ of Beauty brands is 64 percent higher than the weakest category, Fashion. Furthermore, multi-brand organizations in beauty have demonstrated an aggregate 4.5 percent year on year Digital IQ increase, while dominant Fashion conglomerates fell 9 percent. Almost half of the top 20 rankings across all categories in this year’s IQ are beauty brands.

Social media adoption by prestige brands is now ubiquitous in China with only five brands in the Index without a presence. Ten brands are now present on more than five Chinese social media platforms, compared with just two in 2011. Mobile adoption, on the other hand, still remains low in China despite the widespread popularity of smartphones. Only 23 percent of brands in this year’s Index maintain a mobile-optimized version of their China site and only a third of these sites are e-commerce enabled. Despite Andriod controlling 90 percent of the Chinese smartphone market, only 35 percent of brands maintain an Android app, with 22 percent available in Chinese, and only one app is e-commerce enabled.

For more information download an excerpt of the report here and watch the video below:

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