The World’s Busiest Ports
An estimated 90% of world trade is facilitated by maritime shipping, and as trade volumes continue to increase, the world’s busiest ports continue to grow larger and more efficient to meet demand.
In fact, in just the last four years, the median annual volume of the top 50 ports jumped from 5.49 to 5.86 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
Here are the world’s 20 largest ports, using the most recent data from the World Shipping Council:
|Rank||Port Name||Country||2016 Volume||2012 Volume||4-Year Change|
|5||Busan||🇰🇷 S. Korea||19.9||17.0||+17%|
|6||Hong Kong||🇭🇰 China||19.8||23.1||-14%|
|7||Guangzhou Harbor||🇨🇳 China||18.9||14.7||+28%|
|9||Jebel Ali||🇦🇪 U.A.E.||15.7||13.3||+18%|
|11||Port Klang||🇲🇾 Malaysia||13.2||10.0||+32%|
|18||Los Angeles||🇺🇸 U.S.A.||8.9||8.1||+10%|
|19||Tanjung Pelepas||🇲🇾 Malaysia||8.3||7.7||+8%|
Volume is measured in millions of TEUs
Only five of the top 20 ports in the world are now located outside of East Asia. The Port of Los Angeles is the only U.S. entrant in the top 20, and only three European ports made the cut.
Today, trade is more likely than ever to flow through the South China Sea.
Ruling the High Seas
From dollar store knick-knacks to nuclear reactor components, China’s manufacturing output is a critical link in the global supply chain. Getting all those products to consumers and companies around the world is big business, and over the past decade, China has emerged as the heavyweight champion of world shipping.
While Danish company, Maersk, is still the largest shipping line, an ever increasing share of the world’s container traffic is moving through Chinese controlled ports. An estimated two-thirds of container traffic now passes through Chinese ports or ports that have received Chinese investment.
New Kids on the Block
While shipping volumes on a global basis continue to rise, not all of that growth has been spread around equally. This is particularly true for established titans of the South China Sea.
At the outset of this millennium, Hong Kong and Singapore were home to the busiest ports in the world. Today, both are facing increased competition from neighboring ports, as well as declining volumes:
In contrast, the massive Port of Shanghai saw a 71% increase over the last decade, and many other Chinese ports has seen significant growth in volume in recent years.
If China’s One Belt One Road initiatives and investments in global port facilities are any indication, the country’s domination of maritime shipping will only continue to strengthen in the near term.
Charted: The Industries Where Asian Companies are the Strongest
We look at the share of Asian companies in the top 3,000 global firms—measured by market capitalization in 2020—broken down by industry.
The Industries Where Asian Companies are the Strongest
The last 30 years of globalization have benefited Asia greatly.
As a result of deepening trade relations and access to other markets, Asian companies have grown in output and prominence. But which sectors do they excel in?
Using data from McKinsey Global Institute we visualize Asian companies’ share of the top 3,000 global companies, broken down by industry, revenue, and patent share.
A top 3,000 company was defined as having a market capitalization of over $5 billion in 2020.
Ranking Asia’s Strongest Industries
Unsurprisingly, among the top 3,000 companies globally, Asian companies are most prevalent in the manufacturing sector. Specifically, the region’s strength is in industries like consumer electronics, industrial electronics, electric vehicles, and semiconductors.
For many Asian countries, manufacturing is the bulwark of the economy. In Asia’s largest economy, China, the manufacturing sector accounts for nearly one-third of economic output. In Asia’s 13th largest economy, Vietnam, it accounts for almost one-fourth of gross domestic product.
However, manufacturing isn’t all what Asia is known for anymore. Here’s a full list of the top Asian companies’ share in various industries.
|Industry||Asian Share of Top 3,000 Companies||Revenue Share (%)||Patent Share (%)|
Note: The top 3,000 companies list is industry agnostic; companies are classified by sector according to their main business.
Another fast-growing industry where Asian companies are thriving is in the consumer internet services space. Asia is home to half of the world’s internet users, which is driving innovation within the region’s online services industry.
And even though Asia is home to “only” 22% of e-commerce companies within the top 3,000, these firms accounted for 50% of patents granted.
Five Distinct “Asias”
Asia is of course a vast place, and for this reason McKinsey divides the Asia-Pacific region into five distinct “Asias” to get a more granular view. For the most part, they use UN country groupings here, though McKinsey notes it excludes parts of Western Asia (i.e. the Middle East) due to dissimilarities with other Asia-Pacific economies:
- Advanced Asia: High per-capita GDP, urbanization, and connectivity. Includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore.
- China: 18% of global GDP and population.
- Emerging Asia: Southeast Asia, strong regional connections and trade. Includes Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and others.
- India: 18% of global population but only 3% of global GDP.
- Frontier Asia: Limited integration, large populations and potential. Includes Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and others.
McKinsey noted that the region is economically integrated—without formal political governance and despite sometimes being at odds with each territorially—with 59% of Asian trade done with other Asian countries.
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