Fortune just published its “Global 500,” a list of the world’s 500 largest companies (“Global 500: The World’s Largest Corporations” July 22, 2013, pp. 133, F1–F8). Some interesting observations arise:
Big Players In Big Countries. Among the 500, the US showed 132 (26.4%) corporations and China came in with 89 (17.8%). China’s number was up from 73 the prior year. Among the top 25, the US showed eight companies (32%) and China showed three (12%). Additional nations that showed frequently included Germany, Japan, Britain, France, Switzerland, and South Korea.
More Revenue, Less Profit. The Global 500 combined showed total revenue of $30.3 trillion, which is almost a 3% increase from the prior year. Total profit however was down 5.5%. Although more revenue is often interpreted as a good thing, depending on what and how that revenue is generated, it might actually harm your profit picture. Two positives were Toyota and Volkswagen, which both reported strong profits.
Walmart Rules Supreme—Almost. America’s biggie, Walmart, came in at second place instead of first. It was beat out by behemoth Royal Dutch Shell based in the Netherlands.
The Popular Industries. Peppering the top 100 of the bunch were many companies in the automotive, oil, technology, and telecom industries. These included names such as Apple, Exxon Mobil, AT&T, BMW, and Samsung Electronics.
It is ironic. We find the world is getting smaller every day, yet it remains a very big world with some very big companies. Our top 500 corporations demonstrate that truth.