Mapping Out Each Country’s Largest Public Company

Recent IPOs filed by Silicon Valley firms like Uber, Lyft, and Beyond Meat have garnered significant media attention in recent weeks. While the American news cycle has covered a lot about these newcomers to the stock exchange, they are only a small snapshot of the global network of public companies. Our newest visualization maps out the largest public company in each country, as measured by market value and based on the most recent data from the Forbes Global 2000 list.

  • In the full Forbes list of the World’s Largest Public Companies, the top 10 public companies by market value are located in either the U.S. or China.
  • Overall, banks, tech, automobiles, telecommunications, and energy are the industries with the largest public companies around the world.
  • According to Forbes, the Global 2000 have more than $40 trillion in annual revenue and more than $186 trillion in global assets.
  • Only the 60 countries with companies listed in the Global 2000 are included in the visualization.

The Forbes Global 2000 list draws upon data from FactSet Research systems, Bloomberg, and company financial statements to analyze the sales, profits, assets and market value of public companies around the world. Our visualization above highlights the largest public company in each country by market value. For each country, the visualization shows the largest public company’s logo as well as a number representing that company’s market value. The darker shades of blue represent the public companies with the highest market value, while lighter shades represent lower market values.

Below, we have divided the visualization into different continents to further highlight regional trends in large public companies’ market values. All monetary values are expressed in U.S. dollars. Here’s a closer look at how the biggest public companies vary by region.

Top 3 Countries’ Largest Public Companies by Market Value in the Americas

1. U.S. - Apple ($961.3 billion market value)
2. Canada - Royal Bank of Canada ($114.9 billion market value)
3. Brazil - Petrobras ($91.2 billion market value)

Among all countries in the world, the U.S. has the largest public company by market value (Apple). Overall, the largest public companies in North American countries have higher market values than the largest public companies in the Caribbean, Central America, or South America.


Top 3 Countries’ Largest Public Companies by Market Value in Europe

1. Switzerland - Nestle ($281.3 billion market value)
2. The Netherlands - Shell ($264.9 billion market value)
3. Belgium - Anheuser-Busch InBev ($175.7 billion market value)

The largest public companies in Western Europe have higher market values than the largest public companies in Eastern Europe. Unlike the largest public companies in other world regions, which are dominated by tech, energy and banking, two of the top three largest public companies by market value in European countries are in the food and beverage industry (Nestle and Anheuser-Busch).

Top 3 Countries’ Largest Public Companies by Market Value in Asia

1. China - Alibaba - ($408.8 billion market value)
2. South Korea - Samsung Electronics ($272.4 billion market value)
3. Taiwan - Taiwan Semiconductor ($222.4 market value)

The most profitable and highest value Asian public companies are located in northeast Asia. The majority of the largest public companies in Asia are in the banking industry, but technology, energy, and telecommunications also have a significant presence. Since only public companies are included on the Forbes list, the world’s most profitable company (Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco) is not shown on this visualization.

Top 3 Countries’ Largest Public Companies by Market Value in Africa and Australia

1. Australia - BHP Group ($138.3 billion market value)
2. South Africa - Naspers ($111.3 billion market value)
3. Morocco - Maroc Telecom ($13.4 billion market value)

Africa and Oceania have very few public companies on the Global 2000. Those that do make the list vary widely in their market values. For example, Australia and South Africa have public companies with market values in excess of $100 billion, but the largest public companies in countries like Morocco, Kenya, and Egypt have market values only about one tenth of that size.

Although most of the companies on the Forbes Global 2000 have been established for many years, there are constant newcomers filing IPOs and bursting onto the international stage. For example, in 2018 alone, 190 companies in the U.S. went public. How do you think these new IPOs will change the world’s largest public companies in the future? Please let us know in the comments.



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