Ranking the Richest, Largest and Most Profitable Companies

Turnover, profits, stock market value: discover the latest ranking of the world’s richest companies. Chinese and American companies trust the first places.

In 2017, the combined turnover of the 500 richest companies in the world was 30,000 billion dollars, compared to 27,700 billion dollars in 2016. Data from the latest annual Global 500 study published by Fortune magazine.  A study that establishes three rankings of companies (from 33 countries) according to their turnover, profit and workforce.

Companies with the Highest Turnover

In terms of turnover (generated in 2017) and for the 5th consecutive year, the American supermarket chain Walmart leads the way. The Chinese energy group State Grid remains in 2nd place.  The Chinese oil and chemical group Sinopec retains its 3rd place.

With six companies present in the top 15, the United States remains the most represented nation. But China is also in a strong position. As a year ago, Chinese companies occupy three of the top five places in the ranking. The leading European company is the Anglo-Dutch oil company Royal Dutch Shell. in 5th position. The first French company is Axa, which ranks 27th in the Global 500 with a 2017 turnover of 149.461 billion dollars.

It should be noted that out of the top ten companies in the ranking, five are oil companies. Apple, which occupied 10th place last year, fell back to 11th place.

Company Rank by Revenue 2017 ($ billions)

1- Walmart 500,343

2 -State Grid 348,903

3 Sinopec Group 326,953

4 China National Petroleum 326.008

5 Royal Dutch Shell 311,870

6 Toyota Motor 265,172

7 Volkswagen 260,028

8 BP 244,582

9 Exxon Mobil 244,363

10 Berkshire Hathaway 242,137

Companies with the Highest Profits

Regarding profitability, Chinese banks recorded more than comfortable results in 2017. Four of them (the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the China Construction Bank, the Agricultural Bank of China and the Bank of China) belong to the very closed circle of the ten most profitable companies in the world.

The most profitable company in 2017 remains Apple, which generated $48.351 billion in profits in 2016 (compared to $45.687 billion in 2016). Among the other tech companies, Facebook is ranked 19th and Microsoft 16th. On the other hand, Google disappears from the ranking of the 20 most profitable companies (its parent company Alphabet was 9th in 2016).

The 10 most profitable companies in the world 

Rank Company 2017 Earnings ($ billions)

1 Apple 48,351

2 British American Tobacco 48,327

3 Berkshire Hathaway 44,940

4 Industrial & Commercial Bank of China 41,883

5 Samsung Electronics 36,575

6 China Construction Bank 35,845

7 Verizon 30,101

8 AT&T 29,450

9 Agricultural Bank of China 28,550

10 Bank of China 25,509

Companies with the Largest Number of Employees

China and the United States also dominate Fortune magazine’s ranking in terms of employment. In 2017, only two companies in the world employed more than one million people. In this case, the American retailer Walmart, which retains first place with its 2.3 million employees (no change compared to 2016), and the Chinese company China National Petroleum with 1,470,193 employees (compared to 1,512,048 in 2016).

Among the top ten places, four companies are Chinese and three are American, including Amazon and its 566,000 employees. The leading European group, Volkswagen, is in 7th place. The leading French company is Carrefour which occupies 26th place with 378,923 employees in 2017.

The 10 largest companies in the world, by number of employees 

Rank Company Number of Employees

1 Walmart 2,300,000

2 China National Petroleum 1,470,193

3 China Post Group 948,239

4 State Grid 913,546

5 Hon Hai Precision Industry 803,126

6 Sinopec Group 667,793

7 Volkswagen 642,292

8 Compass Group 588,112

9 US Postal Service 573,614

10 Amazon 566,000

Companies with the Largest Market Capitalization

To complete these figures on the richest companies, there is also the 2018 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which publishes its ranking of the companies with the largest market capitalizations every year in June. 

This time it is Gafam that takes the top places. For the 7th consecutive year, Apple dominates the list. The apple brand’s market value reached 851 billion dollars in 2018 against 754 billion dollars in 2017. Alphabet (ex-Google) and Microsoft complete the podium with a market capitalization of 719 and 703 billion dollars against 579 and 509 billion dollars respectively in 2017. Note the very strong surge of Chinese companies Tencent and Alibaba which move respectively from 11th and 5th place and from 12th to 7th place.

The 20 largest companies in the world, by market capitalization 

Rank Enterprise Market Capitalization as of March 31, 2018 ($ billions)

1 Apple 851

2 Alphabet (ex-Google) 719

3 Microsoft 703

4 Amazon.com 701

5 Tencent 496

6 Berkshire Hathaway 492

7 Alibaba 470

8 Facebook 464

9 JPMorgan & Chase 375

10 Johnson & Johnson 344

11 IIndustrial & Commercial Bank of China 336

12 Exxon Mobil 316

13 Bank of America 307

14 Samsung Electronics 298

15 Royal Dutch Shell 263

16 Walmart 246

17 China Construction Bank 259

18 Wells Fargo 256

19 Nestlé 246

20 Visa 246

In Summary…

The United States and China also share the top ten places in the classification. The first European group is the Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell which occupies the 15th place with 263 billion dollars of capitalization. LVMH is the first French company with a capitalization of 156 billion dollars, which puts it in 48th place out of 100.

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