The Biggest Companies in the World
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Since the COVID-19 crash, global equity markets have seen a strong recovery. The 100 biggest companies in the world were worth a record-breaking $31.7 trillion as of March 31 2021, up 48% year-over-year. As a point of comparison, the combined GDP of the U.S. and China was $35.7 trillion in 2020.
In today’s graphic, we use PwC data to show the world’s biggest businesses by market capitalization, as well as the countries and sectors they are from.
The Top 100, Ranked
PwC ranked the largest publicly-traded companies by their market capitalization in U.S. dollars. It’s also worth noting that sector classification is based on the FTSE Russell Industry Classification Benchmark, and a company’s location is based on where its headquarters are located.
Here is the top 100 ranking of the biggest companies in the world, organized from the biggest to the smallest.
|Rank||Company name||Location||Sector||Market Capitalization|
|1||APPLE INC||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$2.1T|
|2||SAUDI ARAMCO||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||Energy||$1.9T|
|3||MICROSOFT CORP||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$1.8T|
|4||AMAZON.COM INC||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Discretionary||$1.6T|
|5||ALPHABET INC||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$1.4T|
|6||FACEBOOK INC||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$839B|
|8||TESLA INC||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Discretionary||$641B|
|9||ALIBABA GRP||🇨🇳 China||Consumer Discretionary||$615B|
|10||BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY||🇺🇸 United States||Financials||$588B|
|12||VISA INC||🇺🇸 United States||Industrials||$468B|
|13||JPMORGAN CHASE||🇺🇸 United States||Financials||$465B|
|14||JOHNSON & JOHNSON||🇺🇸 United States||Health Care||$433B|
|15||SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS||🇰🇷 South Korea||Technology||$431B|
|16||KWEICHOW MOUTA||🇨🇳 China||Consumer Staples||$385B|
|17||WALMART INC||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Discretionary||$383B|
|18||MASTERCARD INC||🇺🇸 United States||Industrials||$354B|
|19||UNITEDHEALTH GRP||🇺🇸 United States||Health Care||$352B|
|20||LVMH MOET HENNESSY||🇫🇷 France||Consumer Discretionary||$337B|
|21||WALT DISNEY CO||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Discretionary||$335B|
|22||BANK OF AMERICA||🇺🇸 United States||Financials||$334B|
|23||PROCTER & GAMBLE||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Staples||$333B|
|24||NVIDIA CORP||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$331B|
|25||HOME DEPOT INC||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Discretionary||$329B|
|26||NESTLE SA||🇨🇭 Switzerland||Consumer Staples||$322B|
|27||IND & COMM BK||🇨🇳 China||Financials||$290B|
|28||PAYPAL HOLDINGS||🇺🇸 United States||Industrials||$284B|
|29||ROCHE HOLDING||🇨🇭 Switzerland||Health Care||$283B|
|30||INTEL CORP||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$261B|
|31||ASML HOLDING NV||🇳🇱 Netherlands||Technology||$255B|
|32||TOYOTA MOTOR||🇯🇵 Japan||Consumer Discretionary||$254B|
|33||COMCAST CORP||🇺🇸 United States||Telecommunications||$248B|
|34||VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS||🇺🇸 United States||Telecommunications||$241B|
|35||EXXON MOBIL CORP||🇺🇸 United States||Energy||$236B|
|36||NETFLIX INC||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Discretionary||$231B|
|37||ADOBE INC||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$228B|
|38||COCA-COLA CO||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Staples||$227B|
|40||PING AN||🇨🇳 China||Financials||$219B|
|41||CISCO SYSTEMS||🇺🇸 United States||Telecommunications||$218B|
|42||AT&T INC||🇺🇸 United States||Financials||$216B|
|43||L'OREAL||🇫🇷 France||Consumer Discretionary||$215B|
|45||ABBOTT LABS||🇺🇸 United States||Health Care||$212B|
|46||NOVARTIS AG||🇨🇭 Switzerland||Health Care||$212B|
|47||NIKE INC||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Discretionary||$209B|
|48||ORACLE CORP||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$202B|
|49||PFIZER INC||🇺🇸 United States||Health Care||$202B|
|50||CHEVRON CORP||🇺🇸 United States||Oil & Gas||$202B|
|51||CHINA MERCH||🇨🇳 China||Financials||$196B|
|52||PEPSICO INC||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Staples||$195B|
|53||SALESFORCE.COM||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$195B|
|54||MERCK & CO||🇺🇸 United States||Health Care||$195B|
|55||ABBVIE INC||🇺🇸 United States||Health Care||$191B|
|56||BROADCOM INC||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$189B|
|57||PROSUS NV||🇳🇱 Netherlands||Technology||$181B|
|58||RELIANCE INDS||🇮🇳 India||Energy||$180B|
|59||THERMO FISHER||🇺🇸 United States||Health Care||$180B|
|60||ELI LILLY & CO||🇺🇸 United States||Health Care||$179B|
|61||AGRICULTURAL BANK OF|
|62||SOFTBANK GROUP||🇯🇵 Japan||Telecommunications||$176B|
|63||ACCENTURE PLC||🇮🇪 Ireland||Industrials||$176B|
|64||TEXAS INSTRUMENT||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$174B|
|65||MCDONALDS CORP||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Discretionary||$167B|
|66||VOLKSWAGEN AG||🇩🇪 Germany||Consumer Discretionary||$165B|
|67||BHP GROUP LTD||🇦🇺 Australia||Basic Materials||$163B|
|68||WELLS FARGO & CO||🇺🇸 United States||Financials||$162B|
|69||TATA CONSULTANCY||🇮🇳 India||Technology||$161B|
|70||DANAHER CORP||🇺🇸 United States||Health Care||$160B|
|71||NOVO NORDISK||🇩🇰 Denmark||Health Care||$160B|
|72||MEDTRONIC PLC||🇮🇪 Ireland||Health Care||$159B|
|73||WULIANGYE YIBI||🇨🇳 China||Consumer Staples||$159B|
|74||COSTCO WHOLESALE||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Discretionary||$156B|
|75||T-MOBILE US INC||🇺🇸 United States||Telecommunications||$156B|
|76||CITIGROUP INC||🇺🇸 United States||Financials||$152B|
|77||HONEYWELL INTL||🇺🇸 United States||Industrials||$151B|
|78||QUALCOMM INC||🇺🇸 United States||Technology||$151B|
|79||SAP SE||🇩🇪 Germany||Technology||$151B|
|80||BOEING CO||🇺🇸 United States||Industrials||$149B|
|81||ROYAL DUTCH SHELL||🇳🇱 Netherlands||Oil & Gas||$148B|
|82||NEXTERA ENERGY||🇺🇸 United States||Utilities||$148B|
|83||UNITED PARCEL||🇺🇸 United States||Industrials||$148B|
|84||UNION PAC CORP||🇺🇸 United States||Industrials||$148B|
|85||UNILEVER PLC||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||Consumer Staples||$147B|
|86||AIA||🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR||Financials||$147B|
|87||LINDE PLC||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||Basic Materials||$146B|
|88||AMGEN INC||🇺🇸 United States||Health Care||$144B|
|89||BRISTOL-MYER SQB||🇺🇸 United States||Health Care||$141B|
|90||SIEMENS AG||🇩🇪 Germany||Industrials||$140B|
|91||BANK OF CHINA||🇨🇳 China||Financials||$139B|
|92||PHILIP MORRIS INC||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Staples||$138B|
|93||LOWE'S COS INC||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Discretionary||$136B|
|🇺🇸 United States||Telecommunications||$135B|
|95||CHINA MOBILE||🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR||Telecommunications||$134B|
|96||SONY GROUP CORP||🇯🇵 Japan||Consumer Discretionary||$132B|
|97||ASTRAZENECA PLC||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||Health Care||$131B|
|98||ROYAL BANK OF CANADA||🇨🇦 Canada||Financials||$131B|
|99||STARBUCKS CORP||🇺🇸 United States||Consumer Discretionary||$129B|
|100||ANHEUSER-BUSCH||🇧🇪 Belgium||Consumer Staples||$128B|
Note: Data as of March 31, 2021.
Within the ranking, there was a wide disparity in value. Apple was worth over $2 trillion, more than 16 times that of Anheuser-Busch (AB InBev), which took the 100th spot at $128 billion.
In total, 59 companies were headquartered in the United States, making up 65% of the top 100’s total market capitalization. China and its regions was the second most common location for company headquarters, with 14 companies on the list.
Risers and Fallers
What are some of the notable changes to the biggest companies in the world compared to last year’s ranking?
Tesla’s market capitalization surged by an eye-watering 565%, temporarily making Elon Musk the richest person in the world. Food delivery platform Meituan and PayPal benefited from growing e-commerce popularity with their market capitalizations growing by 221% and 151% respectively.
Tech companies TSMC and ASML Holdings were also among the top 10 risers, thanks to a shortage of semiconductor chips and growing demand.
On the other end of the scale, Swiss companies Nestlé, Novartis, and Roche Holding were all among the bottom 10 companies by market capitalization growth. China Mobile was the only company to decline with a -12% change. The company was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange as a result of an executive order issued by former president Donald Trump, and recently announced its intention to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
A Sector View
Across the 100 biggest companies in the world, some sectors had higher weightings.
|Sector||Total Market Cap in Top 100||% of Top 100 Market Cap||Number of Companies in Top 100|
Technology had the highest market capitalization and was also the most common sector, with Big Tech dominating the top 10. Companies in the consumer discretionary, financials, and health care sectors also had a strong representation in the ranking.
Despite having only five companies on the list, the energy sector amounted to almost 10% of the top 100’s market capitalization, mostly due to Saudi Aramco’s whopping valuation.
An Uncertain Recovery
From near market lows on March 31, 2020, all sectors saw increases in their market capitalization. However, top 100 companies in some sectors outperformed their respective industry index, while others did not.
Basic materials and industrials, both cyclical sectors, were high performers in the top 100 and outperformed their respective industry indexes. Technology companies also outperformed, and accounted for $255 billion or 31% of all shareholder distributions by the top 100, far more than any other sector. Apple alone spent $73 billion on share buybacks and $14 billion in dividends in the 2020 calendar year.
On the other hand, the worst-performing sectors in the top 100 were health care, utilities, and energy. While the index performance for health care and utilities was also relatively poor, the wider energy sector performed fairly well.
It’s perhaps not surprising that all sectors saw positive returns since their low levels in March 2020, buoyed by fiscal stimulus and central bank policies. As countries begin to reopen, will the value of the biggest companies in the world continue to climb?
Visualizing The World’s Largest Sovereign Wealth Funds
To date, only two countries have sovereign wealth funds worth over $1 trillion. Learn more about them in this infographic.
Visualized: The World’s Largest Sovereign Wealth Funds
Did you know that some of the world’s largest investment funds are owned by national governments?
Known as sovereign wealth funds (SWF), these vehicles are often established with seed money that is generated by government-owned industries. If managed responsibly and given a long enough timeframe, an SWF can accumulate an enormous amount of assets.
In this infographic, we’ve detailed the world’s 10 largest SWFs, along with the largest mutual fund and ETF for context.
The Big Picture
Data collected from SWFI in October 2021 ranks Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (also known as the Norwegian Oil Fund) as the world’s largest SWF.
The world’s 10 largest sovereign wealth funds (with fund size benchmarks) are listed below:
|Country||Fund Name||Fund Type||Assets Under Management (AUM)|
|🇳🇴 Norway||Government Pension Fund Global||SWF||$1.3 trillion|
|🇺🇸 U.S.||Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund||Mutual fund||$1.3 trillion|
|🇨🇳 China||China Investment Corporation||SWF||$1.2 trillion|
|🇰🇼 Kuwait||Kuwait Investment Authority||SWF||$693 billion|
|🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||Abu Dhabi Investment Authority||SWF||$649 billion|
|🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR||Hong Kong Monetary Authority Investment Portfolio||SWF||$581 billion|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Government of Singapore Investment Corporation||SWF||$545 billion|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Temasek||SWF||$484 billion|
|🇨🇳 China||National Council for Social Security Fund||SWF||$447 billion|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia||SWF||$430 billion|
|🇺🇸 U.S.||State Street SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust||ETF||$391 billion|
|🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||Investment Corporation of Dubai||SWF||$302 billion|
SWF AUM gathered on 10/08/2021. VTSAX and SPY AUM as of 09/30/2021.
So far, just two SWFs have surpassed the $1 trillion milestone. To put this in perspective, consider that the world’s largest mutual fund, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX), is a similar size, investing in U.S. large-, mid-, and small-cap equities.
The Trillion Dollar Club
The world’s two largest sovereign wealth funds have a combined $2.5 trillion in assets. Here’s a closer look at their underlying portfolios.
1. Government Pension Fund Global – $1.3 Trillion (Norway)
Norway’s SWF was established after the country discovered oil in the North Sea. The fund invests the revenue coming from this sector to safeguard the future of the national economy. Here’s a breakdown of its investments.
|Asset Class||% of Total Assets||Country Diversification||Number of Securities|
|Public Equities||72.8%||69 countries||9,123 companies|
|Fixed income||24.7%||45 countries||1,245 bonds|
|Real estate||2.5%||14 countries||867 properties|
As of 12/31/2020
Real estate may be a small part of the portfolio, but it’s an important component for diversification (real estate is less correlated to the stock market) and generating income. Here are some U.S. office towers that the fund has an ownership stake in.
|601 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY||45.0%|
|475 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY||49.9%|
|33 Arch Street, Boston, MA||49.9%|
|100 First Street, San Francisco, CA||44.0%|
As of 12/31/2020
Overall, the fund has investments in 462 properties in the U.S. for a total value of $14.9 billion.
2. China Investment Corporation (CIC) – $1.2 Trillion (China)
The CIC is the largest of several Chinese SWFs, and was established to diversify the country’s foreign exchange holdings.
Compared to the Norwegian fund, the CIC invests in a greater variety of alternatives. This includes real estate, of course, but also private equity, private credit, and hedge funds.
|Asset Class||% of Total Assets|
As of 12/31/2020
A primary focus of the CIC has been to increase its exposure to American infrastructure and manufacturing. By the end of 2020, 57% of the fund was invested in the United States.
“According to our estimate, the United States needs at least $8 trillion in infrastructure investments. There’s not sufficient capital from the U.S. government or private sector. It has to rely on foreign investments.”
– Ding Xuedong, Chairman, China Investment Corporation
This has drawn suspicion from U.S. regulators given the geopolitical tensions between the two countries. For further reading on the topic, consider this 2017 paper by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
Preparing for a Future Without Oil
Many of the countries associated with these SWFs are known for their robust fossil fuel industries. This includes Middle Eastern nations like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Oil has been an incredible source of wealth for these countries, but it’s unlikely to last forever. Some analysts believe that we could even see peak oil demand before 2030—though this doesn’t mean that oil will stop being an important resource.
Regardless, oil-producing countries are looking to hedge their reliance on fossil fuels. Their SWFs play an important role by taking oil revenue and investing it to generate returns and/or bolster other sectors of the economy.
An example of this is Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which supports the country’s Vision 2030 framework by investing in clean energy and other promising sectors.
Visualizing the Race for EV Dominance
Tesla was the first automaker to hit a $1 trillion market cap, but other electric car companies have plans to unseat the dominant EV maker.
Electric Car Companies: Eating Tesla’s Dust
Tesla has reigned supreme among electric car companies, ever since it first released the Roadster back in 2008.
The California-based company headed by Elon Musk ended 2020 with 23% of the EV market and recently became the first automaker to hit a $1 trillion market capitalization. However, competitors like Volkswagen hope to accelerate their own EV efforts to unseat Musk’s company as the dominant manufacturer.
This graphic based on data from EV Volumes compares Tesla and other top carmakers’ positions today—from an all-electric perspective—and gives market share projections for 2025.
Auto Majors Playing Catch-up
According to Wood Mackenzie, Volkswagen will become the largest manufacturer of EVs before 2030. In order to achieve this, the world’s second-biggest carmaker is in talks with suppliers to secure direct access to the raw materials for batteries.
It also plans to build six battery factories in Europe by 2030 and to invest globally in charging stations. Still, according to EV Volumes projections, by 2025 the German company is forecasted to have only 12% of the market versus Tesla’s 21%.
|Company||Sales 2020||Sales 2025 (projections)||Market cap (Oct '21, USD)|
|SGMW (GM, Wulling Motors, SAIC)||211,000||1,100,000||$89B|
Other auto giants are following the same track towards EV adoption.
GM, the largest U.S. automaker, wants to stop selling fuel-burning cars by 2035. The company is making a big push into pure electric vehicles, with more than 30 new models expected by 2025.
Meanwhile, Ford expects 40% of its vehicles sold to be electric by the year 2030. The American carmaker has laid out plans to invest tens of billions of dollars in electric and autonomous vehicle efforts in the coming years.
Tesla’s Brand: A Secret Weapon
When it comes to electric car company brand awareness in the marketplace, Tesla still surpasses all others. In fact, more than one-fourth of shoppers who are considering an EV said Tesla is their top choice.
“They’ve done a wonderful job at presenting themselves as the innovative leader of electric vehicles and therefore, this is translating high awareness among consumers…”
—Rachelle Petusky, Research at Cox Automotive Mobility Group
Tesla recently surpassed Audi as the fourth-largest luxury car brand in the United States in 2020. It is now just behind BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz.
The Dominance of Electric Car Companies by 2040
BloombergNEF expects annual passenger EV sales to reach 13 million in 2025, 28 million in 2030, and 48 million by 2040, outselling gasoline and diesel models (42 million).
As the EV market continues to grow globally, competitors hope to take a run at Tesla’s lead—or at least stay in the race.
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