The World’s 20 Most Profitable Companies
The biggest chunk of the earnings pie is increasingly split by fewer and fewer companies.
In the U.S. for example, about 50% of all profit generated by public companies goes to just 30 companies — back in 1975, it took 109 companies to accomplish the same feat:
|Year||Number of Firms Generating 50% of Earnings||Total Public Companies (U.S.)||Portion (%)|
This power-law dynamic also manifests itself at a global level — and perhaps it’s little surprise that the world’s most profitable companies generate mind-bending returns that would make any accountant blush.
Which Company Makes the Most Per Day?
Today’s infographic comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it uses data from Fortune to illustrate how much profit top global companies actually rake in on a daily basis.
The 20 most profitable companies in the world are listed below in order, and we’ve also broken the same data down per second:
|Rank||Company||Country||Profit per Day||Profit Per Second|
|#1||Saudi Aramco||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||$304,039,726||$3,519|
|#2||Apple||🇺🇸 United States||$163,098,630||$1,888|
|#3||Industrial & Commercial Bank of China||🇨🇳 China||$123,293,973||$1,427|
|#4||Samsung Electronics||🇰🇷 South Korea||$109,301,918||$1,265|
|#5||China Construction Bank||🇨🇳 China||$105,475,068||$1,221|
|#6||JPMorgan Chase & Co.||🇺🇸 United States||$88,969,863||$1,030|
|#7||Alphabet||🇺🇸 United States||$84,208,219||$975|
|#8||Agricultural Bank of China||🇨🇳 China||$83,990,411||$972|
|#9||Bank of America Corp.||🇺🇸 United States||$77,115,068||$893|
|#10||Bank of China||🇨🇳 China||$74,589,589||$863|
|#11||Royal Dutch Shell||🇬🇧 🇳🇱 UK/Netherlands||$63,978,082||$740|
|#13||Wells Fargo||🇺🇸 United States||$61,350,685||$710|
|#14||🇺🇸 United States||$60,580,822||$701|
|#15||Intel||🇺🇸 United States||$57,679,452||$668|
|#16||Exxon Mobil||🇺🇸 United States||$57,095,890||$661|
|#17||AT&T||🇺🇸 United States||$53,068,493||$614|
|#18||Citigroup||🇺🇸 United States||$49,438,356||$572|
|#19||Toyota Motor||🇯🇵 Japan||$46,526,027||$538|
|#20||China Development Bank||🇨🇳 China||$45,874,795||$531|
The Saudi Arabian Oil Company, known to most as Saudi Aramco, is by far the world’s most profitable company, raking in a stunning $304 million of profits every day. When translated to a more micro scale, that works out to $3,519 per second.
You’ve likely seen Saudi Aramco in the news lately, though for other reasons.
The giant state-owned company has been rearing to go public at an aggressive $2 trillion valuation, but it’s since delayed that IPO multiple times, most recently stating the listing will take place in December 2019 or January 2020. Company-owned refineries were also the subject of drone attacks last month, which took offline 5.7 million bpd of oil production temporarily.
Despite these challenges, Saudi Aramco still stands pretty tall — after all, such blows are softened when you churn out the same amount of profit as Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook combined.
Numbers on an Annual Basis
Bringing in over $300 million per day of profit is pretty hard to comprehend, but the numbers are even more unfathomable when they are annualized.
|#1||Saudi Aramco||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||$110,974,500,000|
|#2||Apple||🇺🇸 United States||$59,531,000,000|
|#3||Industrial & Commercial Bank of China||🇨🇳 China||$45,002,300,000|
|#4||Samsung Electronics||🇰🇷 South Korea||$39,895,200,000|
|#5||China Construction Bank||🇨🇳 China||$38,498,400,000|
|#6||JPMorgan Chase & Co.||🇺🇸 United States||$32,474,000,000|
|#7||Alphabet||🇺🇸 United States||$30,736,000,000|
|#8||Agricultural Bank of China||🇨🇳 China||$30,656,500,000|
|#9||Bank of America Corp.||🇺🇸 United States||$28,147,000,000|
|#10||Bank of China||🇨🇳 China||$27,225,200,000|
|#11||Royal Dutch Shell||🇬🇧 🇳🇱 UK/Netherlands||$23,352,000,000|
|#13||Wells Fargo||🇺🇸 United States||$22,393,000,000|
|#14||🇺🇸 United States||$22,112,000,000|
|#15||Intel||🇺🇸 United States||$21,053,000,000|
|#16||Exxon Mobil||🇺🇸 United States||$20,840,000,000|
|#17||AT&T||🇺🇸 United States||$19,370,000,000|
|#18||Citigroup||🇺🇸 United States||$18,045,000,000|
|#19||Toyota Motor||🇯🇵 Japan||$16,982,000,000|
|#20||China Development Bank||🇨🇳 China||$16,744,300,000|
On an annual basis, Saudi Aramco is raking in $111 billion of profit per year, and that’s with oil prices sitting in the $50-$70 per barrel range.
To put this number in perspective, take a look at Chevron. The American oil giant is one of the 20 biggest companies on the S&P 500, but it generated just $15 billion in profit in 2018 and currently sits at a $221 billion market capitalization.
That puts Chevron’s profits at roughly 10% of Aramco’s — and if Aramco does IPO at a $2 trillion valuation, that would put Chevron at roughly 10% of its market cap, as well.
Ranked: Top Countries for Foreign Direct Investment Flows
Take a look at changes in foreign direct investment flows over a decade, analyzing the top destinations and biggest investors.
One of the most significant phenomena in 21st-century globalization, driven by the ascent of multinational corporations and the removal of investing barriers, is the vast cross-border flow of foreign capital.
To analyze recent trends, Samidha Nayak utilized World Bank data spanning 2012–2022, charting the top 10 destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI) and the leading investing countries annually.
Countries With the Most FDI Inflows (2012–2022)
In 2012, the United States had the highest FDI inflow, attracting about $250 billion in investment from the rest of the world.
At second place, China’s FDI inflows stood about $9 billion lower at $241 billion.
The middle ranks have representatives from Europe (Netherlands, Cyprus), from Asia (Hong Kong) and from South America (Brazil).
Towards the bottom, three OECD countries—Germany, Ireland, and Australia—all attracted an average of $60 billion in foreign investment.
Unexpectedly, the British Virgin Islands came in 8th. Their lack of corporate tax makes it a popular place for companies to headquarter, in turn attracting FDI inflows.
|1||🇺🇸 U.S.||$250.35||1||🇺🇸 U.S.||$388.08|
|2||🇨🇳 China||$241.21||2||🇨🇳 China||$180.17|
|3||🇳🇱 Netherlands||$239.67||3||🇸🇬 Singapore||$140.84|
|4||🇧🇷 Brazil||$92.57||4||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||$120.95|
|5||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||$74.89||5||🇫🇷 France||$105.42|
|6||🇨🇾 Cyprus||$69.97||6||🇧🇷 Brazil||$91.50|
|7||🇩🇪 Germany||$65.44||7||🇦🇺 Australia||$67.12|
|8||🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands||$61.12||8||🇨🇦 Canada||$53.71|
|9||🇮🇪 Ireland||$58.09||9||🇸🇪 Sweden||$50.05|
|10||🇦🇺 Australia||$57.55||10||🇮🇳 India||$49.94|
Ten years later however, the top 10 saw a shuffle. The U.S. and China retained their top spots, but the difference grew much larger—with the U.S. attracting nearly 50% more foreign investment ($388 billion) than China ($180 billion).
Singapore, which first appeared in the rankings in 2014, took third place with $141 billion.
Meanwhile the bottom half changed almost entirely with France, Canada, Sweden, and India replacing Cyprus, Germany, the British Virgin Islands, and Ireland.
Countries With the Most FDI Outflows (2012–2022)
Unlike the ranks of net inflows, the top 10 countries with the highest FDI outflows have stayed essentially the same.
The U.S. topped the list in both ends of the decade, despite briefly falling out of the top 10 entirely in 2018. There were only three new entrants (France, Australia, and the UK) in 2022 compared to 10 years prior, with Cyprus, Switzerland, and the British Virgin Islands dropping out of top spots.
|1||🇺🇸 U.S.||$377.24||1||🇺🇸 U.S.||$426.25|
|2||🇳🇱 Netherlands||$237.94||2||🇩🇪 Germany||$178.87|
|3||🇯🇵 Japan||$117.63||3||🇯🇵 Japan||$175.40|
|4||🇩🇪 Germany||$99.08||4||🇬🇧 UK||$158.93|
|5||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||$88.12||5||🇨🇳 China||$149.69|
|6||🇨🇾 Cyprus||$75.25||6||🇳🇱 Netherlands||$125.89|
|7||🇨🇳 China||$64.96||7||🇦🇺 Australia||$123.36|
|8||🇨🇦 Canada||$62.25||8||🇫🇷 France||$118.76|
|9||🇨🇭Switzerland||$54.30||9||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||$106.86|
|10||🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands||$53.94||10||🇨🇦 Canada||$83.11|
Many of the countries who are in the top ranks for inflows (U.S., China, Canada, Australia) are also in the top ranks for outflows both in 2012 and 2022.
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