10 Largest Companies In The World: China Takes The Top 3 Spots

There are quite a few predictions that surfaced decades ago that China will become a superpower and will surpass the United States as the world’s strongest economy in the immediate future. Those predictions are now becoming a reality.

Regarded in the past as a poor nation, China is still ranked as one of the countries with the highest poverty rate in the world. But that is because China’s population is so large and its area is so massive that wealth is not evenly distributed and many of its regions are not experiencing industrial and economical boom as compared to its flourishing provinces and cities.

But there is no doubt that China is rich. In fact, in the most recent listing of the world’s 10 largest companies by Forbes, five Chinese companies have entered the rankings. Three of them now sitting at the very top. The position on the list is determined based on four factors: revenues, profits, assets and market value. And to kick off this list is a Chinese company called…

#10 PetroChina – $202 billion


Founded in 1999 as a joint stock company, PetroChina is Asia’s most profitable enterprise and is owned by the Chinese government via the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). PetroChina engages in exploration, production, refining and marketing of oil and natural gas. Currently led by CEO Zhou Jiping, PetroChina’s current profit stands at $21.1 billion. Its headquarters are located at Dongcheng District, Beijing, China.

#9 Bank of China – $124.2 billion


Another Chinese state-owned company, the Bank of China is one of the country’s largest commercial banks. Established in 1912 as a replacement of the Imperial Bank of China, this financial institution is the country’s oldest existing banking enterprise still in operation. Xiao Gang currently serves as the Chairman while Li Lihui is the President. The Bank of China is the country’s second largest bank in terms of lending operations. It is also ranked as the 5th largest financial institution in the world based on market capitalization value. Its main building is located in Beijing, China.

#8 Wells Fargo – $261.4 billion

Wells Fargo is one United States’ oldest financial company, with roots tracing to the California gold rush in 1849. Originally founded as a transportation company, Wells and Fargo soon ventured into the financial industry. The current Wells Fargo is the result of a merger between the original Wells and Fargo company and the Minneapolis-based Norwest Corporation back in 1998. John Stumpf currently sits as the company’s CEO, Chairman, and President. Wells Fargo now has huge interests in the financing business, with engagements in commercial banking, foreign currency exchange, private equity, and wealth management to name a few. The Wells Fargo headquarters are found in San Francisco, California.

#7 General Electric – $259.6 billion


Founded by Thomas Edison and a few investors back in 1892, General Electric business operations are focused on four major areas – Energy, Technology Infrastructure, Capital Finance, and Consumer and Industrial. General Electric has raked in $14.8 billion in profits last year and is poised to duplicate its success this year. Currently led by CEO and President Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric has produced a wide variety of consumer electronics, appliance, lighting, and electric motors. The company has also ventured in healthcare, military equipment and weaponry, aviation, banking and finance, as well as energy research and development. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, General Electric is regarded as one of the most successful business conglomerates in corporate history.

#6 ExxonMobil – $422.3 billion


The largest oil and natural gas company in the world, ExxonMobil is the fruit of a merger between Exxon and Mobil (formerly Standard Oil of New Jersey and Standard Oil of New York). ExxonMobil has a rich history as well, with its roots tracing back to the old John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil company. Rex T. Willerson heads the company as both Chairman and CEO. Last year, ExxonMobil generated $32.6 billion in profits. With 37 oil refineries in 21 countries, ExxonMobil’s supply of oil and natural gas is said to last 14 years. Anchored in Irving, Texas, Exxon Mobil is the largest oil refining company in the world as well, with a daily refining capacity of 6.3 million barrels of oil.

#5 Berkshire Hathaway – $309.1 billion


Branded as one of the largest multinational holding companies in the world, Berkshire Hathaway has significant investments in a myriad of large corporations anchored in a variety of industries. Among the companies it wholly owns are GEICO, BNSF, Lubrizol, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom, Helzberg Diamonds, FlightSafety International, and NetJets. Berkshire Hathaway also has significant holdings in companies that engage in real estate, healthcare, retail, railroad, and home furnishings among others. Warren Buffett is the company’s Chairman, President, and CEO. In 2013, Berkshire Hathaway registered $19.5 billion in profit. The company’s headquarters are based in Kiewit Plaza in Omaha, Nebraska.

#4 JPMorgan Chase – $229.7 billion


The largest banking institution in the United States, JPMorgan Chase has a long and very revered history that dates back to the founding of the New York Chemical Manufacturing Company in 1823. In fact, JPMorgan Chase is the result of several acquisitions and mergers involving Chase Manhattan Bank, J.P. Morgan & Co., Bank One, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual among others. The current JPMorgan Chase owns assets worth more than $2.5 trillion. In 2013, the banking and financial holding corporation registered $17.3 billion in income. Their headquarters are located in Manhattan, New York. JPMorgan Chase’s present CEO, Chairman, and President is Jamie Dimon.

#3 Agricultural Bank of China – $141.1 billion


One of China’s “Big Four” banks, the Agricultural Bank of China opened its doors in 1951. But since its establishment, the bank has been abolished and re-established several times, with its last restructuring occurring in 1979. Today, the Agricultural Bank of China is the country’s third largest lending institution based on assets and it has offices in London, Tokyo, New York, Frankfurt, Sydney, Seoul, and Singapore. In 2014, Forbes ranks the company as the 3rd in its 11th annual Global 2000 ranking of the biggest, most powerful and most valuable companies in the world. Last year, the bank made $27 billion in profit. Spearheaded by Jiang Chaoliang (Chairman) and Zhang Yun (President), the Agricultural Bank of China’s main office is located in Beijing.

#2 China Construction Bank – $174.4 billion


Originally named the People’s Construction Bank of China when it was founded in 1954, the China Construction Bank is noted as the one of the “Big Four” financial institutions in the country. Ranked as the 13th largest company in the world and the second largest bank in terms of market capitalization, CCB has grown to 13,629 domestic branches and has its offices in Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, New York, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, Melbourne, and Sydney, and a wholly owned subsidiary in London. Last year, CCB made $34.2 billion in gains. The company is led by Wang Hongzhang (Chairman), Zhang Jianguo (President), and Xin Shusen (Vice President). CCB’s headquarters are located in Beijing.

#1 Industrial and Commercial of China (ICBC) – $215.6 billion


Established in 1984, ICBC completes China’s “Big Four” banks presence on the list. For the past two years, ICBC has been named as the world’s top bank as rated by The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks ranking, a huge milestone since it is the first time a China-based bank has achieved such a status. Last year, ICBC’s profits registered at $42.7 billion and its assets have now ballooned to $3.1 trillion. Heading ICBC are Jiang Jianqing (Chairman & Executive Director) and Luo Xi (Vice president). ICBC has over 18,000 outlets, 106 of which are overseas branches and agents positioned all over the world. Its headquarters are located in Beijing, China.

Jenny Chang

By Jenny Chang

Jenny Chang is a senior writer specializing in SaaS and B2B software solutions. Her decision to focus on these two industries was spurred by their explosive growth in the last decade, much of it she attributes to the emergence of disruptive technologies and the quick adoption by businesses that were quick to recognize their values to their organizations. She has covered all the major developments in SaaS and B2B software solutions, from the introduction of massive ERPs to small business platforms to help startups on their way to success.

ed says:

Do people working for Chinese corporations work harder than people working for American corporations? If so, then why?

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bostjan says:

China's companies are among the largest ones, because they know how to network, e.g. work together. That's something the western countries have yet to learn. Great article!

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