Companies are birthed daily, but not many of them survive the struggles of their early years and grow to attain global recognition and be counted amongst the richest companies by worth and valuation. This is how many of the richest companies in the world came to be, with their seemingly small idea growing into billion-dollar, or in some instances, trillion-dollar businesses. From Amazon to Google and to Apple, the richest companies in the world have conquered business in a way that has set them apart with services or inventions that have left the world amazed at their brilliance.
Several factors contribute to the valuation of a company, prominent of which is the company’s profitability in the short and long term. Many of the companies on this list have consistently exceeded expectations, leaving their shareholders smiling to the bank at the end of each quarter. Considering that market valuation is an ‘artificial’ figure determined by the stock market, the market value of a company can be fleeting. Thus, it is essential to note that the data used for this article are up to date up for a 2020 analysis.
Additionally, the data source used for this article is a 2020 valuation report of different companies carried out by Brand Finance and published on brandirectory.com. Now, without further ado, a look at the top ten richest companies in the world by valuation.
Richest Companies in the World and Their Worths
Brand Value – $220,791M
The multinational company, Amazon, started as a platform for the sale of music and videos. Since then, it has expanded its reach to the sale of consumer electronics, home-improvement items, games, and more, becoming the world’s leading e-commerce platform. The company is also involved in media and entertainment, as well as technology development with products like Amazon Alexa, Amazon Web Services, Amazon Kindle, and several others.
The company is led by founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who is the richest man in the world with a net worth of $111.4 billion. His publicly-traded company, Amazon, is the richest company in the world, with a market valuation of $220,791M.
Brand Value – $159,722M
Founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998, Google has grown to become one of the most valuable companies in the world being the search engine with the highest number of users worldwide. Thanks to its rapid growth since it was established, Google has gone from being just a search engine to specializing in other services and products related to the internet.
Apart from other Google products and services such as Google Docs, Google Translate, Google Maps, and Youtube, among many others, through which the billion-dollar company rakes in millions on a daily basis, its online advertising service has turned out to be the highest generator of its single largest revenue. Thus, As of February 2020, Google is listed as the second richest company in the world via valuation, with a market value of $159,722M.
Brand Value – $140,524M
Tech companies heavily dominate the top five places on the list of the richest companies in the world and the Steve Jobs–Steve Wozniak founded company, Apple, is third on the list with a market valuation of $140,524M. The company owes its valuation to its signature product, the iPhone which has consistently been one of the best-selling tech products since it was first launched in June 2007. So far, it has sold more than 2.2 billion units as of 2018.
In addition to the iPhone, Apple also has well-performing products like Mac computers, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Shazam, and several others. Aside from being one of the richest companies in the world, it is also one of the most valuable brands in the world, with billions of dollars in brand revenue.
Brand Value – $117,072M
When Steve Jobs was alive, himself and Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, were bitter rivals. They drove each other to extreme success and were the subject of several controversies. Although both of them are no longer at the helm of the respective companies, the rivalry continues. Gates’ Microsoft falls just below Jobs’ Apple in market value with a $117,072M net worth. The company, which is known primarily for its operating system product, Windows, is one of the richest and globally recognized companies in the world.
It has an extensive line of products that cut across consumer electronics and computer software, both for personal and commercial use. The company is currently led by CEO Satya Nadella.
5. Samsung Group
Brand Value – $94,494M
The Samsung company, which has its presence in almost, if not all countries of the world, currently occupies the 5th spot on the world’s richest companies list having recorded a whopping sum of $94,494M dollars in brand valuation. The company came into business in 1938 as a trading company but in the following thirty years, it spread its tentacles into many other businesses.
Towards the end of the 1960s, Samsung made its way into the electronics sector, delving into the sales of various products, including smartphones, which is said to be one of the major drivers of the company’s growth in addition to the revenues that come from its exploits in the construction and shipbuilding industries.
After the death of Samsung’s founder, Lee Byung-chul, the South Korean company split into four different groups and following the success of each, Samsung has become the largest business conglomerate in the country. With increased global activity in diverse business industries, particularly in the area of electronics, since 1990, Samsung mobile phones and semiconductors are considered to be the company’s major income source.
6. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC)
Brand Value – $80,791M
ICBC is a commercial banking company owned by the Chinese government and as such is funded by the country’s Ministry of Finance. The multinational company, which is currently valued at $80,791M, was founded in Beijing, China, in the year 1984 and in 2013, it emerged with a Tier 1 capital that placed it at the number one position among one thousand banks that operate globally. This was no small feat as it was the first time in modern history a bank that had its headquarter in China would record such an achievement.
Subsequently, ICBC’s total assets for 2017 and 2018 made it rank as the world’s largest bank for the two consecutive years and from 2012 through 2019, the bank maintained the first spot in The Banker‘s list of Top 1000 World Banks. Also in 2019 ICBC ranked first on Forbes Global 2000 list of the biggest public companies in the world.
Brand Value – $79,804M
Facebook might not be the cup of tea of millions of people all over the world, especially in America, where it is credited for several electoral malpractices. Still, it remains one of the most profitable businesses in the world and has earned a place among the richest companies on the planet. Under the direction of Mark Zuckerberg, the company has gone from an idea conceived in a Harvard dorm to becoming the leading social media platform in the world. While it might be 7th on this list, it is one of the Big Four tech companies in the world.
The company makes the bulk of its revenue from advertisements to its 2.3 billion monthly active users. It is just behind ICBC, with a market valuation of $79,804M.
Brand Value – $77,520M
Established in America by Sam Walto in 1962 and incorporated 7 years later, Walmart has remained in operation ever since and has grown beyond America, having opened a total of 11,503 stores and clubs in 27 nations of the world as of the last day of January 2020. With its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, the multinational retail company runs its operations in different countries under 55 different names.
According to the Fortune Global 500 2019 list, Walmart made a revenue of US$514.405 billion that year and that made it the largest company in the world by income. The company is also credited as the world’s largest employer of labor with 2.2 million workers in its payroll. Owned and run by the Walton family, Walmart emerged as the largest grocery retailer in the United States in 2019 with its $510.329 billion sales, 65% of which was made in the U.S. This contributed to its position at number 8 on the list of the richest companies in the world by valuation in 2020 with a brand value of $77,520M.
9.Ping An Insurance Group
Brand Value – $69,041M
Though it took the 9th spot on this list, this Chinese company with the full name “Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd.” is the second Chinese company to make it on the top ten list this year. Just like all other companies on this list, Ping An began its walk in the finance sector as a property and casualty insurance company but eventually diversified into other sectors of the industry.
Founded in 1988, this Chinese holding conglomerate is headquartered in Shenzhen and is said to be the biggest insurer in China with a gross premium income of US$107 billion in the year 2018. Thanks to its market capitalization of US$220 billion as of July 2019, the company is the second-largest insurer in the world behind Berkshire Hathaway.
Having established itself as among top insurance brands in the world, Ping An has made its way to a number of reputable lists such as the 2019 Forbes Global 2000 list where it took the 7th position and the Fortune Global 500 list where it ranked 29th. Also, the insurance company ranked third globally among the most valuable financial institutions.
Brand Value – $65,084M
Communication has been a part of human existence from the beginning of time and as knowledge increased, technology made it possible for people in different parts of the globe to be able to communicate as though they were together. Over time, communication technology has improved with the emergence of different companies such as the Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
The company was started by Ren Zhengfei in 1987 with an initial focus on the manufacturing of phone switches. However, the company has expanded its activities to include a lot of other aspects of the telecommunication business and has also taken its products and services beyond its country of origin to over 170 countries of the world.
Huawei has achieved a number of feats since it began operations and these include overtaking Ericsson as the largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment globally in 2012 and overtaking Apple to take the second spot on the list of world’s largest manufacturers of smartphones in 2018. It, therefore, came as no surprise when a December 2019 report by the company revealed that there had been an increase in its annual revenue to the tune of US$121.72 billion hence, an increase in its brand value from $62,278M in 2019 to $65,084M in 2020.