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Animation: The Largest Public Companies by Market Cap (2000–2022)

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The Largest Public Companies by Market Cap (2000–2022)

The 10 largest public companies in the world had a combined market capitalization of nearly $12 trillion as of July 2022.

But two decades ago, the players that made up the list of the largest companies by market capitalization were radically different—and as the years ticked by, emerging megatrends and market sentiment have worked to shuffle the deck multiple times.

This racing bar chart by Truman Du shows how the ranking of the top 10 largest public companies has changed from 2000 to 2022.

Market Cap vs. Market Value

Before diving in, it’s worth noting that market capitalization is just one of many metrics that can be used to help value a company.

Simply put, a company’s market cap measures the combined price of a company’s outstanding shares—in other words, it’s the price someone would pay if they wanted to purchase the company outright at current stock prices (theoretically speaking).

But while a market cap provides insight into what equity is worth at a given time, calculating the market value is far more complicated and nuanced. After all, a price paid might not reflect the actual value of a business. To get a measure of value, other metrics like a company’s price-to-sales (P/S) ratio, price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, or return-on-equity (ROE) may be considered.

The Largest Public Companies by Market Cap (2000–2022)

Over the last two decades, investor sentiment has shifted as different trends have played out, and the types of companies buoyed up by the market have changed as well.

For instance, tech and telecom companies were big in the very early 2000s, as investors got excited about the seemingly endless potential of the newly-introduced World Wide Web.

Largest Companies by Market Cap (January 1, 2000)

RankCompanyMarket Cap (Jan 1, 2000)
#1🇺🇸 Microsoft$606 billion
#2🇺🇸 General Electric$508 billion
#3🇯🇵 NTT Docomo$367 billion
#4🇺🇸 Cisco$352 billion
#5🇺🇸 Walmart$302 billion
#6🇺🇸 Intel$280 billion
#7🇯🇵 Nippon Telegraph$271 billion
#8🇫🇮 Nokia$219 billion
#9🇺🇸 Pfizer$206 billion
#10🇩🇪 Deutsche Telekom$197 billion

In the middle of the Dotcom bubble, investors were pouring money into internet-related tech startups. As PC and internet adoption picked up, investors hoped to “get in early” before these companies started to really turn a profit. This overzealous sentiment is reflected in the market capitalizations of public companies at the time, especially in the tech or telecom companies that were seen as benefitting from the internet boom.

Of course, the Dotcom bubble was not meant to last, and by January 2004 the top 10 list was looking much more diverse. At this time, Microsoft had lost the top spot to General Electric, which had a market cap of $309 billion. Then in the late 2000s, energy companies such as ExxonMobil, PetroChina, Gazprom, and BP took over the list as oil prices spiked well over $100 per barrel.

But fast forward to 2022, and we’ve come full circle, with Big Tech back in the limelight again.

Largest Companies by Market Cap (July 1, 2022)

RankCompanyMarket Cap (Jul 1, 2022)
#1🇸🇦 Saudi Aramco$2.27 trillion
#2🇺🇸 Apple$2.25 trillion
#3🇺🇸 Microsoft$1.94 trillion
#4🇺🇸 Alphabet$1.43 trillion
#5🇺🇸 Amazon$1.11 trillion
#6🇺🇸 Tesla$707 billion
#7🇺🇸 Berkshire Hathaway$612 billion
#8🇺🇸 United Health Group$485 billion
#9🇺🇸 Johnson & Johnson$472 billion
#10🇨🇳 Tencent$435 billion

Four of the five largest companies are in tech, and Tencent also cracks the list. Meanwhile, Tesla is classified as an automotive company, but it is thought of as an “internet of cars” company by many investors.

Big Picture Trends in the Top 10 by Market Cap List

YearDescriptionTop Company (Market Cap USD)Top 10 Description
2000Dotcom BubbleMicrosoft ($606B)Multiple tech/telecom companies in the mix
2004Post-BubbleGE ($309B)Diverse mix of companies by industry
2009Financial CrisisPetroChina ($367B)Six non-U.S. companies make the list
2014$100 OilApple ($560B)Last year of oil-dominated list; tech starts ascending
2022Big Tech EraAramco ($2,270B)*Tech accounts for 80% of Top 5 companies

*As of July 1, 2022. Since then, Saudi Aramco has been re-surpassed by Apple due to a reversal in oil prices.

Trending Downwards?

Amidst rising interest rates, crippling inflation, and political issues like the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, signs point towards a potential global recession. Tech companies fared well during the COVID-19 pandemic, but will likely not be immune to the impacts of a generalized economic slowdown.

It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out in 2023, and which companies (if any) will manage to stay on top throughout the turmoil.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Ranked: Average Annual Salaries by Country

See how average annual salaries vary across 30 different countries, adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP).

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Ranked: Average Annual Salaries by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

There are many reasons for why salaries vary between countries: economic development, cost of living, labor laws, and a variety of other factors. Because of these variables, it can be difficult to gauge the general level of income around the world.

With this in mind, we’ve visualized the average annual salaries of 30 OECD countries, adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP). This means that the values listed have taken into account the differences in cost of living and inflation between countries.

Data and Key Takeaways

This data was sourced from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), an international organization that promotes policies to improve economic and social well-being. It has 38 member countries, though in this instance, data for all of them was not available.

All figures are as of 2022.

RankCountryAverage Annual Salary
(USD, PPP adjusted)
1🇱🇺 Luxembourg78,310
2🇺🇸 U.S.77,463
3🇨🇭 Switzerland72,993
4🇧🇪 Belgium64,848
5🇩🇰 Denmark64,127
6🇦🇹 Austria63,802
7🇳🇱 Netherlands63,225
8🇦🇺 Australia59,408
9🇨🇦 Canada59,050
10🇩🇪 Germany58,940
11🇬🇧 UK53,985
12🇳🇴 Norway53,756
13🇫🇷 France52,764
14🇮🇪 Ireland52,243
15🇫🇮 Finland51,836
16🇸🇪 Sweden50,407
17🇰🇷 South Korea48,922
18🇸🇮 Slovenia47,204
19🇮🇹 Italy44,893
20🇮🇱 Israel44,156
21🇪🇸 Spain42,859
22🇯🇵 Japan41,509
23🇵🇱 Poland36,897
24🇪🇪 Estonia34,705
25🇨🇿 Czechia33,476
26🇵🇹 Portugal31,922
27🇭🇺 Hungary28,475
28🇸🇰 Slovak Republic26,263
29🇬🇷 Greece25,979
30🇲🇽 Mexico16,685

From this dataset we can see that Luxembourg, the U.S., and Switzerland offer the highest average annual salaries.

All three of these countries are highly developed economies with well-established service sectors, which typically lead to more high-paying jobs. The cost of living in these countries is also relatively high, necessitating higher wages to maintain a standard quality of life.

At the other end of this ranking, Mexico and Greece have the lowest average salaries. In Mexico’s case, the country’s economy has a large portion of lower-wage jobs, particularly in agriculture and manufacturing.

Greece, on the other hand, has struggled with consistently high unemployment since the 2008 global financial crisis. This puts downward pressure on wages because there is a surplus of labor.

See More Economics Graphics From Visual Capitalist

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