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The Fortune Global 500 has more Chinese than American

Posted August. 12, 2020 07:36,   

Updated August. 12, 2020 07:36


Chinese companies have outnumbered American companies for the first time on the Fortune Global 500, the annual ranking of the world’s largest businesses by revenue.

The American business magazine reported Monday that there are more Fortune Global 500 companies based in Mainland China and Hong Kong than in the United States at 124 vs. 121. Add in Taiwan’s companies, and the Greater China total jumps to 133. The Global 500 list did not have a single Chinese company in 1990 when it first came out and only 11 in 2003 when China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, the number of Chinese companies has skyrocketed since then to overtake the number of U.S. companies.

Three Chinese companies, Sinopec, State Grid and China National Petroleum (CNPC), made it to top 10, compared to two American companies, which are Walmart and Amazon, although U.S. retail giant Walmart tops the ranking based on sales. Royal Dutch Shell of the Netherlands, Saudi Aramco of Saudi Arabia, Volkswagen of Germany, British Petroleum of the United Kingdom and Toyota Motor of Japan are among the top 10 companies.

Some argue that Washington should reduce reliance on Beijing citing the U.S.-China trade war and COVID-19, while others say that American companies will be able to forgo the large Chinese market. Scott Kennedy, senior advisor of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the global industry will be increasingly shaped by Chinese consumers. However, this does not mean Chinese business is bigger than that of the United States. In terms of total revenues, Chinese companies accounted for 25 percent, five percent lower than American companies. It is also worth noting that 66 percent of Chinese companies listed on the Global 500 are supported by the nation.

Meanwhile, a total of 14 South Korean companies made it to the list, two lower than the previous year. Samsung Electronics ranked 15th, sliding down four notches from the previous year. Fortune suggested it was a result of decreasing sales of semiconductors and a stiffer competition from Huawei in the smartphone market.

Bo-Mi Im bom@donga.com