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

31 July 2017

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.


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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.”