BMW is the most desirable brand in China, ranking ahead of brands like Apple and Rolex, according to the results of a new survey.

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Given that there were 1.33 billion people in China in 2009, the polled audience represents less than 0.00019 percent of the population. Despite this, BMW would still no doubt be impressed with the result.

Clear Asia’s regional managing director, Oliver Cartwright, said BMW has a “strong and attractive brand personality in China”.

“It’s seen as sexy and confident, exciting and sophisticated,” Mr Cartwright said, as reported by Automotive News.

Clear Asia director, Scott Davies, said BMW had established a clear advantage in China over its compatriots.

“Both brands (Mercedes-Benz and Audi) are admired, but neither has the emblematic brand personality of BMW – and having a very distinctive personality is key to being a truly desirable brand,” Mr Davies said.

China became BMW’s third-largest market in 2010, behind Germany and the US. Including MINI and Rolls-Royce sales, BMW Group sold 183,328 vehicles in China last year, representing a massive increase of 85.3 percent compared with 2009.

Proving just how important the market is to BMW, the manufacturer announced earlier this week that next month’s Auto Shanghai motor show would host four world premieres for the brand. The all-new BMW 5 Series Hybrid, M5, 1 Series and MINI Coupe will all be seen for the first time in China on April 19.

The tide has turned somewhat on BMW in Australia, however. In the first two months of 2011, Audi has overtaken BMW in sales. So far this year, Audi has sold 2936 vehicles compared with BMW’s 2218. Over the same period last year, Audi was on 2547 compared with BMW’s 2837.

Mercedes-Benz now sits in the middle (2400 vehicles) after leading in the first two months of 2010 (2940 vehicle).

On a global scale in the Clear survey, BMW ranked third in terms of desirability behind Apple and Google.