The 25 largest publicly listed companies in the world

02 June 2017

In line with last year’s trends, Apple is once more the largest listed company in the world. Google’s parent company Alphabet and Microsoft followed closely, topping the list of the 25 largest listed companies in the world, which has a colossal total value of over $8.3 trillion.

The stock market value of the world's largest listed companies has risen sharply in recent years. A PwC survey from 2013 into the stock market value of the world's largest companies in 2013, found that the top twenty companies with the highest stock market value that year were good for a total value of just over $5 trillion. Recent Bloomberg data however reveals that by the end of last year the twenty largest companies in terms of stock market value, were worth $2.1 trillion more than in 2013 ($7.2 trillion), while the top 25 are together worth more than $8.3 billion.

Top 5 companies

Apple remains by far the most valuable company in the world. The technology company, known worldwide for its iPhones, iPods, MacBooks, iPads and associated software, was recently the first business to break through $800 billion in stock market value. Two years ago, it was also the first to cross the $700 billion mark. Runner-up Alphabet, Google's parent company, is yet to pass the $700 billion mark; with the second largest listed company posting a value of $653 billion – $150 billion less than Apple at the end of 2016.

Microsoft was ranked in third place, with a value of $533 billion, while e-commerce player Amazon has picked up fourth place, with a confirmed worth of $455 billion. The differences between the top 4 players are the biggest differences in the top 25 – at about $150 billion, $120 billion and $80 billion respective, the other top 25 companies are significantly closer to each other in terms of market value. For example, there is less than $20 billion difference between fourth-placed Amazon and social media company Facebook, who ranked fifth.

The 25 largest publicly listed company in the world

Top 25 listed companies in the world

Following on from the top five are four more US listed companies, Berkshire Hathaway siting in sixth, while Exxon Mobil, Johnson & Johnson and JPMorgan Chase ranked seventh, eighth and ninth. Chinese technology company Tencent, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has a value of $305 billion, and are the first company on this year’s list to not be US-based.

Although Alibaba is originally a Chinese company, located in Hangzhou, the e-commerce giant boasts a $299 billion listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The South Korean consumer electronics producer Samsung meanwhile was reported as being worth about $1 billion more than Banco de Venezuela, one of the largest banks in South America. The top 15 was closed by two US companies, with #14 Wells Fargo & Co and #15 General Electric.

Swiss company Nestlé ranked sixth, with a stock exchange value of a quarter of a trillion dollars. The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China followed next, while 19th spot is also held by a bank, as with a value of $239 billion, Bank of America is worth just around $4 billion more than AT&T. Switzerland has one further company among the top 25 largest listed companies, namely the Roche pharmaceutical group on 21st place and worth $233 billion. Venezuela surprisingly featured a second company on the list, Mercantil Servicios Financieros in 23rd.

British-Dutch energy giant Shell meanwhile ranked 24th on the list. According to the data, Royal Dutch Shell has a market capitalisation of $225 billion. Shell has traditionally been one of the largest listed companies in the Netherlands, however, Unilever managed to briefly overtake Shell's first place in January 2016. Unilever today has a stock market value of almost $160 billion.


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Project management industry adds £156 billion of value to UK economy

15 April 2019

Project management has grown into one of UK’s largest areas of business over the past decade, amid the increasing ‘projectification’ of work. With the gross value added to the UK economy by project management estimated to be £156 billion, this trend is likely to continue in the coming era.

Despite the huge success of project management in recent years, until now there has been relatively little data available on the size of project activity. As a result, there has been a great deal of debate on things like the number of people involved in the sector, the number of projects, and how it contributes to economic output. Due to this need for clarity, APM, the UK’s professional body for project management (the largest organisation of its kind in Europe, with 28,000 individual members) commissioned economists from PwC to shed light on the industry's economic impact.

The research concluded that the profession makes a more significant contribution to the UK economy than the financial services sector. 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) were employed in the UK project management sector, generating £156.5 billion of annual gross value added (GVA). In comparison, the financial services sector contributes £115 billion, and the construction industry adds £113 billion.

Gross value added to UK economy

Commenting on the discovery, Debbie Dore, Chief Executive of APM said, “Project management runs as a ‘golden thread’ through businesses, helping to develop new services, driving strategic change and sector-wide reform.”

Who is a ‘project manager’?

To reach these estimates, PwC’s researchers used detailed models to map out the value of project management activity. They ultimately defined relevant ‘projects’ as “temporary, non-routine endeavours or rolling programmes of change designed to produce a distinct product, service or end result… [with] a defined beginning and end, a specific scope, a ring-fenced budget, [and] an identified and potentially dedicated team with a project manager in charge.”

Building on this, they then went on to define what the act of project management actually is. The job consists of applying “processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience” so that clients can meet their objectives and bring about planned outputs or outcomes. The analysts added that this includes “initiating the project, planning, executing, controlling, quality assuring and closing the work of an identified and dedicated team according to a specified budget and timeframe.”

Importantly, it should be noted that the profession is not exclusive to only roles explicitly labelled as ‘project manager’, but to any role where specialist project management skills are used. This means that across sectors these roles can have very different titles, from the self-explanatory contract managers of procurement, or the campaign managers of advertising, to the likes of festival co-ordinators in the events sector, and many more. The roles in question also span all strategic levels of the profession, from strategic to tactical and operational positions.

Gross value added of project management profession

From a sector perspective, the financial and professional services, construction and healthcare industries make up almost two-thirds of the total project management GVA. At the same time, understandably, the UK Government has a huge project portfolio, which further drives the size of the GVA the sector contributes, thanks to megaprojects like HS2 and Crossrail.

Commenting on this to the report’s authors, Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation remarked, “Project delivery is at the heart of all Government activity, whether it’s building roads and rail, strengthening our armed forces, modernising IT or transforming the way government provides public services to citizens. Getting these projects right is essential if we are to ensure that we build a country that works for everyone.”

Throughout 2019, 26 major government projects were delivered, representing a fifth of the overall Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP) of 133 projects. According to the IPA annual report 2017-18, these represented a whole life cost of £423 billion. In addition to this were a plethora of smaller scale projects, and those in early development.

Elsewhere, with the increasing digitalisation of the economy impacting entities of all shapes and sizes, IT and digital transformations tended to dominate the projects of the UK scene alongside new product development projects, with a respective 55% and 46% of organisations in the research sample having undertaken these types of project in the past year. At the same time, this varied across sectors, and unsurprisingly, in the construction and local government sectors, fixed capital projects were the main project type undertaken.


Looking to the future, 40% of business leaders expect project management will grow in the coming years due to the increased use of projects – or the ‘projectification’ of the UK. In a trend that has been witnessed elsewhere, organisations have to rapidly and continuously change in the digital age of business, driving the need for project management.

Outlook for project management services

An increased focus on value over cost – especially in the construction sector – and a forecast increase in the number of international projects are predicted to be key drivers of growth, according to the expert contributors. However, this will not happen in the absence of challenges; more than half of organisations expressed concern over the perceived impact of political uncertainty in the UK. Skills and capability shortages were also cited as a potential barrier by a third of organisations.

With regard to budgets, meanwhile, a third of those surveyed by PwC said they expect the size of project budgets will increase in the coming three years, while 40% anticipate a growth in project size. As the profession continues to mature, and as the recognition of the importance of good project management grows, it is expected that a greater proportion of project work will gain more distinct attribution to the profession itself, giving more recognition and appreciation to the role of the project manager.

Speaking on the findings of the study, Sandie Grimshaw, a Partner at PwC, concluded, “The project management profession is relatively new compared to some other professions, such as lawyers, teachers and doctors. However, as project management is a core competence vital to organisations in the UK, the profession is critical and will continue to grow in stature.”