Apple remains the world’s largest corporation. With a market capitalization of USD 890 billion, the US consumer electronics manufacturer was the global no. 1 publicly listed corporation at year-end 2017. Ranks two to five are held by four other technology companies, namely Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon.com and Facebook. Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s investment holding corporation, is currently the world’s sixth largest company.
Corporations from the classical industrial sectors have clearly lost ground to Internet and technology corporations in recent years. There are now only four companies from the traditional economic sectors among the world’s ten largest corporations. Almost all the large companies come from the United States, with the only exceptions in the global top 15 being Alibaba (China, market capitalization of USD 273 billion), Tencent (China, USD 232 billion) and Royal Dutch (Netherlands/GB, USD 212 billion).
Today, one searches in vain for a German corporation among the world’s largest equities. The first ones to crop up, ranked 58 and 68, are Siemens and SAP (USD 115 and USD 105 billion respectively).
European (German) and Japanese companies are thus far less valuable than their American or Chinese competitors. Across the board, technology companies from these countries have long since missed the boat when it comes to catching up with the US “super-companies”. In 2018, instead of setting global trends, companies from Japan and Germany will presumably once again have to concentrate on market leadership in their niche markets, which have now become quite small.