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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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Economy

Economic Growth Forecasts for G7 and BRICS Countries in 2024

The IMF has released its economic growth forecasts for 2024. How do the G7 and BRICS countries compare?

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Faded horizontal bar chart visualization of G7 and BRICS countries' real GDP growth forecasts for 2024.

G7 & BRICS Real GDP Growth Forecasts for 2024

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) has released its real gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecasts for 2024, and while global growth is projected to stay steady at 3.2%, various major nations are seeing declining forecasts.

This chart visualizes the 2024 real GDP growth forecasts using data from the IMF’s 2024 World Economic Outlook for G7 and BRICS member nations along with Saudi Arabia, which is still considering an invitation to join the bloc.

Get the Key Insights of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook

Want a visual breakdown of the insights from the IMF’s 2024 World Economic Outlook report?

This visual is part of a special dispatch of the key takeaways exclusively for VC+ members.

Get the full dispatch of charts by signing up to VC+.

Mixed Economic Growth Prospects for Major Nations in 2024

Economic growth projections by the IMF for major nations are mixed, with the majority of G7 and BRICS countries forecasted to have slower growth in 2024 compared to 2023.

Only three BRICS-invited or member countries, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and South Africa, have higher projected real GDP growth rates in 2024 than last year.

GroupCountryReal GDP Growth (2023)Real GDP Growth (2024P)
G7🇺🇸 U.S.2.5%2.7%
G7🇨🇦 Canada1.1%1.2%
G7🇯🇵 Japan1.9%0.9%
G7🇫🇷 France0.9%0.7%
G7🇮🇹 Italy0.9%0.7%
G7🇬🇧 UK0.1%0.5%
G7🇩🇪 Germany-0.3%0.2%
BRICS🇮🇳 India7.8%6.8%
BRICS🇨🇳 China5.2%4.6%
BRICS🇦🇪 UAE3.4%3.5%
BRICS🇮🇷 Iran4.7%3.3%
BRICS🇷🇺 Russia3.6%3.2%
BRICS🇪🇬 Egypt3.8%3.0%
BRICS-invited🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia-0.8%2.6%
BRICS🇧🇷 Brazil2.9%2.2%
BRICS🇿🇦 South Africa0.6%0.9%
BRICS🇪🇹 Ethiopia7.2%6.2%
🌍 World3.2%3.2%

China and India are forecasted to maintain relatively high growth rates in 2024 at 4.6% and 6.8% respectively, but compared to the previous year, China is growing 0.6 percentage points slower while India is an entire percentage point slower.

On the other hand, four G7 nations are set to grow faster than last year, which includes Germany making its comeback from its negative real GDP growth of -0.3% in 2023.

Faster Growth for BRICS than G7 Nations

Despite mostly lower growth forecasts in 2024 compared to 2023, BRICS nations still have a significantly higher average growth forecast at 3.6% compared to the G7 average of 1%.

While the G7 countries’ combined GDP is around $15 trillion greater than the BRICS nations, with continued higher growth rates and the potential to add more members, BRICS looks likely to overtake the G7 in economic size within two decades.

BRICS Expansion Stutters Before October 2024 Summit

BRICS’ recent expansion has stuttered slightly, as Argentina’s newly-elected president Javier Milei declined its invitation and Saudi Arabia clarified that the country is still considering its invitation and has not joined BRICS yet.

Even with these initial growing pains, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told reporters in February that 34 different countries have submitted applications to join the growing BRICS bloc.

Any changes to the group are likely to be announced leading up to or at the 2024 BRICS summit which takes place October 22-24 in Kazan, Russia.

Get the Full Analysis of the IMF’s Outlook on VC+

This visual is part of an exclusive special dispatch for VC+ members which breaks down the key takeaways from the IMF’s 2024 World Economic Outlook.

For the full set of charts and analysis, sign up for VC+.

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