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The Largest Brands of the World 2020

This article is published in collaboration with Howmuch

by Raul

Market capitalization is one of the best ways to easily measure a company’s value. First, figure out how many shares a company has on the stock market. Then, multiply that by the price of the stock. As the share price rises and falls throughout the year, the company’s total value also moves up and down. And the 100 most valuable companies in the world aren’t all high-flying tech companies, as our latest visualization makes clear.

• Apple is the largest company in the world as of this writing, topping $1.9T in total market capitalization. That’s more than Saudi Aramco, the second most valuable company in the world at $1.8T.

• The US dominates the list of top 100, led by a handful of trillion dollar tech companies like Microsoft ($1.5T), Amazon ($1.5T), Alphabet ($969B) and Facebook ($711B).

• The US also produces a wide variety of companies in the top 100 representing different industries like financial services, physical retail and restaurants. That compares to the relative lack of diversity in Asia.

• South America and Africa are totally absent from our visual, demonstrating just how far the Southern Hemisphere has to go to catch up with the industrialized economies of the world.

We grabbed the top 100 companies by market capitalization from Forbes as of September 25, 2020. We sized each bubble according to its USD market cap and added a color to indicate the underlying industry, creating a nice snapshot of the global economy in 2020.

Top 10 Largest Brands of the World by Market Cap in 2020

1. Apple (US): $1.9T

2. Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia): $1.8T

3. Microsoft (US): $1.5T

4. Amazon (US): $1.5T

5. Alphabet (US): $969B

6. Alibaba (China) $729B

7. Facebook (US): $711B

8. Tencent Holdings (China) $637B

9. Berkshire Hathaway (US): $499B

10. Visa (US): $429B

One of the most obvious insights from our visual is just how dominant the American economy is in producing large mega corporations with enormous market capitalizations. The US boasts three companies with a total value of over $1T, including Apple ($1.9T), Microsoft ($1.5T) and Amazon ($1.5T). There are also several notable companies worth several hundreds of billions of dollars, like Alphabet which owns Google ($969B) and Facebook ($711B). In fact, there are only two companies from China in the top 10, Alibaba ($729B) and Tencent Holdings ($637B). That being said, Asia has more collective market cap than Europe across the top 100 companies in the world thanks in large part to Saudi Aramco ($1.8T). We should also note how both South America and Africa are entirely missing because neither continent has any company with a market cap in the top 100.

Another way to look at our visual is to slice it by industry. There is a lot of diversity across North America, with the largest tech companies balanced by a variety of other industries. Johnson & Johnson ($392B) is a major player in the drug and biotechnology industry. Walmart ($387B) and Home Depot ($299B) are the giants in physical retail. There’s also a collection of American banks, financial services, healthcare and restaurant chains too. Compare that to the relative lack of diversity across Asia, where an oil company dominates, followed by banks and only one or two companies from a couple other industries. Clearly the US economy not only produces more mega-winners overall, but scale and size are spread across industries too.

There are two important limitations about our visualization. First, not every company actually has this much stock listed for sale on public exchanges. For example, Saudi Aramco listed its shares for the first time in December 2019. However, the company only made available the equivalent of 1.5% of its shares to the public, meaning the vast majority of the company remains in the control of Saudi Arabia’s government. Those shareholders could always sell their shares later. And second, the stock market is in a constant state of flux right now. Market volatility is very high right now due to uncertainty around the presidential election and coronavirus fears. Apple recently shot above a $2T valuation before coming back down. The six biggest tech stocks together lost more than $1T in value in just three days. In short, our visual could look very different by the end of the year than it does today.

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