In total, the global 2000 companies now account for $30 trillion in revenues, $2.4 trillion in profits, $119 trillion in assets and $39 trillion in market value. Around the world, 72 million people work for these companies.
The U.S. still dominates this list of global giants, but with 61 fewer entries than last year and 153 fewer than in 2004, as many U.S. companies failed to keep pace with global competitors. In contrast, China, India and Brazil are rapidly adding companies to the list. India, for example, has 48 companies this year vs. 27 in 2004.
Measured by number of companies, 315, the banking industry has the biggest presence on the global 2000. Banking also dominates in assets, with total assets of $58.3 trillion, and profits, $398 billion. The 123 companies in oil and gas operations lead all industries in aggregate revenues, of $3.76 trillion, and take second place in total profits, of $386 billion.
For the past few years, we have also identified an important subset of the global 2000: big companies that also have exceptional growth rates. To qualify as a global high performer, a company must stand out from its industry peers in growth, return to investors and future prospects. Most of the 130 global high performers have been expanding their earnings at 25% a year or better–easy for a start-up, hard for a blue chip.
One such exceptional company is HSBC Holdings (nyse: HBC – news – people ), which not only leads this year’s global 2000 in size–by moving past Citigroup (nyse: C – news – people ), which we now rank 24–but also is one of five global high performers in the banking industry. HSBC has delivered 26% annual average growth in revenue and 31% in net income over the past five years–results that seem more suited to a growing regional bank than one operating in 83 countries with 10,000 offices and $2.3 trillion in assets.
Update: There are implications that should make us pause. Some speculative thoughts are:
1. Business ethics and idealogy are stripped of cultural and societal concerns, so cannot replace national interest and culture. It is not the concern of business to care for citizens, so why give business this trust?
1. Economic theory as sold in political circles and business as practiced in the world appear to have less in common than we think. As long as enough voters believe that a stripped down version of living and society is adequate, that business and society are similar enough, then we will continue to lose ground as a nation. The transition to a global economy might be good or bad from our own point of view, but current planning appears shabby at best and deceitful at worst.
2. When GM and Ford move headquarters to some other country to be nearer sales territory, and other CEOs buy first homes elsewhere and have second homes in the US, the symbolic value might get voters to re-define trade as something that is not a US prerogative.
3. World companies in a global economy have no loyalty to nations. Preferences, yes. Subsidiaries to deal with cultural differences, yes. Domination of a nations protections, yes. Loyalty, no. People have loyalties. Losing your vacation home is easier than losing your primary residence.
4. ‘Defense’ dollars are currently given away or wasted in a business sense. A B-2 buys us nothing in a business sense, and things like naval policing are ‘free’ to the world as a % and a drag on our resources unless we get to charge a world economy for it.
5. It is really important to know where to throw the bricks when your water and food are at stake, unless you can move a lot. Regular people are capable of much, but it goes both ways. Where is the new group of writers describing the new world order…Rand grew up in an extreme environment…do we have to wait for our kids to grow up in a different extreme before we get another novel and idealogy? I do not think ‘enlightened’ is used much in any context, government or business.