In early 2016, Alphabet, Google’s recently rebranded parent company, became the biggest
publicly traded company in the world, worth more than half a trillion dollars. So we wanted to know, what are some of the other biggest companies in the world? Well, according to the Forbes Global 500 list, the biggest, publicly reported company in the world, by revenue is none other than Walmart.
In 2015, they reportedly brought in nearly $486 billion dollars, roughly six and a half times more than Alphabet’s Google did. That’s about the same GDP as the entire country of Norway, and would rank Walmart as the 27th largest economy in the world. Walmart is also the single largest private employer in both the United States and Mexico, with 1.4 million employees in the US. That’s about the same number as active duty personnel in the US military. The Walton family that owns the company has a combined net worth of roughly $149 billion dollars, making them the richest family in America. The next five largest companies in the world are Petroleum Refiners. These are China’s Sigh-NO-Pec Group, Royal Dutch Shell, China National Petroleum, America’s Exxonmobil, and British Petroleum. Their revenues combined equal the entire GDP of India, which at 2 trillion dollars is the 9th largest in the world. But the past year of free falling oil prices has seen all of these companies post lower revenues than in previous years.
Missing from the Forbes Global 500 list is Saudi Ah-Ram-Coh, as they do not fully disclose their worth or revenue. However, the state-owned company, is considered the largest in the world by value, which some estimates place as high as $10 trillion dollars. As the de facto leader of OPEC, and with the second largest oil reserves in the world, Saudi Arabia’s oil company is massive. But historically, none of these come close to the the Dutch East India Company. It was the first ever publicly traded company, worth trillions of dollars, adjusted for inflation. It was effectively a multinational shipping conglomerate with a monopoly on the Dutch spice trade. However, they were more of a functional government than just a shipping service. Within a few decades they were able to operate a military, fight in wars, try, and execute prisoners, and they even had their own coinage system. After nearly 200 years of operation, changes in shipping needs, and widespread corruption led to the company’s downfall. It is actually harder than it may seem to evaluate the biggest companies in the world.
Some dominate by their massive revenues, or huge market value. Others are obvious frontrunners in new technologies, or necessary commodities like energy. But in the future, as companies continue to consolidate, massive conglomerates are likely to only get larger. If you’re looking to start your own company, you’re going to need a good website. Lucky for you, this episode is brought to you by our friends at Squarespace. They can help you build a unique website. They’ll give you a free domain name when you sign up for a year, and if you type “TestTube” at checkout, you’ll get an extra 10% off. Squarespace… you should.
Companies obviously don’t have to be big to be incredibly powerful. Check out our playlist to learn more about the strength of different companies, including Facebook.