For the 1st time China tops the world with the most companies on the Fortune 500 list
According to the newly released 2020 Fortune Global 500 company list China has the most companies in this prestigious ranking for the first time ever. Companies are ranked by total revenues for their respective fiscal years ended on or before March 31, 2020.
In 2020, the world’s 500 largest companies generated USD 33.3 trillion in revenues and USD 2.1 trillion in profits in 2019. Together, this year’s Fortune Global 500 companies employ 69.9 million people worldwide and are represented by 32 countries.
Fortune magazine has been compiling its company ranking since 1955. At that time it launched the original Fortune 500 that measures only US corporations. The Fortune Global 500 has been ranking the top 500 corporations worldwide since 1990.
In the first Global list, USA was leading all countries with 167 companies. It had more companies than Japan, West Germany and Canada combined. By 1995 China had just 3 companies on the list and USA 151. In 2000, China had 10 companies listed, Japan had 107 and USA 179. USA peaked in 2002 with 197 companies.
Following China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 Chinese economy took off. China surpassed Japan to become 2nd largest economy by GDP in 2010. In 2012, China’s company count surpassed Japan’s in the Fortune Global 500.
In the 2020 list, China leads the world country ranking with 133 companies, which include 124 companies in Mainland and Hong Kong, and 7 companies in Taiwan. USA has 121, Japan 53, France 31, Germany 27 and UK 22. Since the last financial crisis in 2009 China added 87 companies to the list, USA lost 19 and Japan 15.
In the city ranking of the company headquarters of the list, Beijing leads all global cities with 55 company headquarters. It is followed by Tokyo with 37, New York 16, London 15, and Seoul 12. Shanghai is in 6th place with 9 headquarters and Shenzhen is 7th with 8.
The industry make up has changed substantially over the last 30 years as well. In 1990 Petroleum Refining accounted for the largest share of total revenue with 17%, followed by Motor Vehicle and Parts 16%, Electronics, Electrical Equipment with 13% and Chemicals as well as food both with 8%.
By 2020, Financials and Energy have increased in importance. These sectors comprise together 41% of companies. Banks account for 10%, Motor Vehicles and Parts 7% and Petroleum Refining 6%. Insurance, Mining and Crude Oil Production with 5% companies round out the top 5 industries.
The Fortune Global 500 has recorded both trends in global company and country economic strength as well as changes in key industry growth drivers of the global economy. Over the last 30 years it especially highlights the speedy rise of China as the world’s key economy.