Market capitalisation of world's 100 biggest companies hits $17.4 trillion

31 July 2017 4 min. read
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The total market capitalisation of the world's 100 largest companies hit $17.4 trillion last year, more than doubling 2009 levels. Technology firms continues to dominate the top rungs. Apple's market capitalisation continues to be the world's highest, followed by Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

According to the ‘Global Top 100 Companies by market capitalisation’ study released by Big Four consultancy PwC, the world’s largest 100 companies have grown significantly since the financial crisis of 2008. The analysis of the 100 largest companies in the world was based on figures supplied by Bloomberg in Spring 2017.

The total market capitalisation of the elite 100 firms has more than doubled between 2009 and 2017. The latest figures show that the biggest 100 companies are presently valued at a collective $17.4 trillion, up from $8.4 trillion in 2009. Market capitalisation also jumped 12% on last year’s research, with around 70% of that growth attributed to growth in US companies.

Total market capitalisation

Apple has again taken the top spot on the ranking, with total market capitalisation of $754 billion, an increase on its market capitalisation of $604 billion last year. Apple has held the top spot since 2012, when it entered with a capitalisation of $559 billion. PetroChina, valued in 2011 at $417 billion, was the last incumbent of the top spot prior to Apple.

The difference between the top and bottom performers continues to be extremely high meanwhile. Apple, in the latest survey almost nine times as large as lowest ranked contender, the Priceline Group.

Value distribution by sector

Technology continues to be the biggest sector in terms of market capitalisation, with 12 companies combined valued at almost $.3.6 trillion. Financial services firms follow, with 21 in the top 100 with a market capitalisation of around $3.5 trillion. Consumer goods and healthcare follow, at $2.6 trillion and $2.3 trillion respectively. Basic materials and telecommunications have the lowest representation and market capitalisations respectively at around $280 billion and around $860 billion respectively.

Top 20

Apple took the number one spot, up from rank 33 in 2009, followed by Google parent company Alphabet, whose market capitalisation stood at $579 billion – its rank moved up 20 spots since 2009. Microsoft comes in at number three, while takes the number four spot. The result reinforces Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft’s dominance of the global market, which also saw them topping a list of the world’s biggest 100 brands earlier in the year. Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway meanwhile rounds off the top 5, with a market capitalisation of $411 billion.

Top 20

The study also demonstrates the continued dominance of the US in terms of the world’s best performing capitalisers, hosting the entire top ten, with two Chinese companies, Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holdings, coming in at number 11 and 12 respectively. General Electric, meanwhile ranks at number thirteen, while Apple’s fiercest market rival Samsung sits in 14th, with a market capitalisation of $256 billion, up 39 positions on 2009. The pair’s rivalry continued to escalate earlier this year when the US Court of Appeals officially reopened the Apple vs Samsung patent lawsuit regarding the original designs of the iphone, which Apple claim the South Korean tech conglomerate copied.

Throughout the entire list meanwhile, 2017 has not seen much change in the country split compared to 2016. The US dominates with 55 US companies in the Global Top 100, increasing by one from 2016 figures. In no change from last year, China and Hong-Kong holds the second position with 11 companies, while the UK comes third with 5 companies.

Top 100 companies by country –trends 2009-2017

This year a number of companies fell from the top 100, including Starbucks, CVS Health, Allergan, Vodafone Group, Japan Tobacco, Deutsche Telekom, Deimler and Qualcomm. The total market capitalisation of companies leaving the ranking stood at $717 billion. Meanwhile nine companies joined the ranking, including BASF, and Banco Santander, with the group as a whole contributing $824 billion to the group. The survivors saw their total market capitalisation increase by around $1.8 trillion.