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, data sources used for this article are primarily from visualcapitalist.com and howmuch.net. 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 – $220.7 Billion
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 $220,791 billion.
Brand Value – $159.7 Billion
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 $159.7 billion.
Brand Value – $140.5 Billion
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 $$140,524 billion. 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 Billion
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 billion 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.
Brand Value – $94.4 Billion
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 94.4 billion 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 – $80.7 Billion
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 $80.7 billion, 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 – $79.8 billion
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 $79.8 billion.
Brand Value – $77.5 Billion
Established in America by Sam Walto in 1962 and incorporated seven 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 US$510.329 billion sales, 65% of which was made in the U.S. This contributed to its position at number eight on the list of the richest companies in the world by valuation in 2020 with a brand value of $77.5 billion.
9.Ping An Insurance Group
Brand Value – $69 Billion
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 Billion
Market Value – $902.7 billion
Technically, Alphabet is the youngest company to make this list, having been created in October 2015. Alphabet came into existence as a corporate umbrella for the company that used to be Google and its subsidiaries. Alphabet is the third tech company to make this list, which is remarkable because when it comes to revenue, it is the fifth-largest company in the world. Some of its products include Google, Makani, Wing, Waymo, and several others.
The company’s interests include technology applications in fields like biotechnology, life sciences, gaming, as well as research and development. As for the 7th of November 2019, it is the third richest company in the world via valuation, with a market value of $902.7 billion.
5. Berkshire Hathaway
Market Value – $544.19 billion
Breaking the monopoly of tech companies at the top is Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate holding company founded by one of the world’s richest people, Warren Buffett. Unlike the rest of the top five, Berkshire Hathaway does not have a particular product, but instead, owns several companies, outrightly and part-ownership. Some of the major companies under it include NetJets, Pampered Chef, Wells Fargo, The Coca-Cola Company, American Airlines, Duracell, and several others.
While it is the fifth richest company in the world based on valuation, it leads the pack among companies with the most expensive stocks in the world, with more than $300,000 per share.
7. Alibaba Group
Market Value – $485.98 billion
If Amazon is to the western world, Alibaba Group is to Asia. The Chinese company has its roots in e-commerce but has since expanded into different industries such as technology, entertainment, media, and cloud computing. The company, which was founded by Jack Ma in April 1999, has witnessed astronomical growth and made him one of the wealthiest people on the planet.
Alibaba Group, which is now a holding company, has a yearly revenue of $56.15 billion, with more than $11 billion in profits as of 2019. It falls a little behind Facebook with a market value of $485.98 billion to place seventh among the richest companies in the world.
8. Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Market Value – $407.8 billion
China’s rapid rise to become one of the world’s biggest economies continues to be an amazing 21st-century feat, and companies like Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd are quintessential definitions of that growth. The multinational holding company was founded in 1998, and it has its business interests in fields such as artificial intelligence, technology, entertainment, and several more.
It holds leading status in different subcategories of companies such as gaming, social media, venture capital, e-commerce, and plenty more. It is the owner of the Facebook rival, WeChat, which has more than 1 billion monthly active users. Tencent Holdings Ltd has a market value of $407.8 billion, placing eighth on our list.
9. JPMorgan Chase
Market Value – $407.74 billion
The bottom two companies among the top ten richest companies in the world by valuation are the only finance companies to crack this exclusive list. The first one is JPMorgan Chase, with a market value of $407.74 billion. The multinational investment bank and financial services holding company has more than $2.988 trillion assets under management. It also has more than $45 billion in hedge fund assets, placing it at the top five largest hedge funds in the world.
The company performs several financial services, with enough influence all over the globe to record a yearly revenue of up to $109.029 billion and more than $32 billion in net income. Some of its services, aside from the aforementioned asset and hedge fund management, include investment banking, private wealth management, treasury services, consumer and community banking, and several more.
JPMorgan Chase is also the largest bank in the United States and sixth largest in the world. With a valuation of $407.74 billion, it is the ninth wealthiest company in the world.
10. Visa Inc.
Market Value – $398.15 billion
Wrapping up the top ten is Visa Inc., the second financial company to make the top ten richest companies in the world by valuation. It made this list with a market value of $398.15 billion. The company, which is based in California, is the second leading facilitator of electronic funds transfers in the world, processing more than 100 billion transactions per year worth more than $6.8 trillion. It is second to China’s UnionPay.
Unlike JPMorgan Chase, which provides banking services, Visa’s financial services do not include the provision of credit or issuance of debit or credit cards. Instead, it is focused on providing financial institutions with payment products that enable secure and smooth transactions, both via credit cards and debit cards.
The company was founded in 1958 as BankAmericard and has grown to become one of the world’s most valuable companies with more than $20 billion in annual revenue as well as over $10 billion in net income. It has a presence in all six continents and is led by Alfred F. Kelly, who is the CEO of the finance company.