Energy sector takes starring role; Saudi Aramco No. 2 in revenue but leader in profits, with highest annual total ever for a Fortune Global 500 company
2023 Ranking Features 142 Chinese companies, 136 U.S., 41 Japanese, 30 German; Japan and France shrink to all-time lows
Amazon, Apple, UnitedHealth, CVS among leading U.S. companies on FORTUNE list; U.S. reaches its highest company total since 2010, and is highest as stand-alone country in 2023
The number of female CEOs rose to 29 in 2023 from 24 in 2022
New and returning companies include Warner Bros. Discovery, Salesforce, Uber, Lufthansa, HD Hyundai, Daimler Truck; China‘s Contemporary Amperex Technology and Meituan; and new energy and natural resource companies such as Canadian Natural Resources
NEW YORK, Aug. 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today, FORTUNE announced that U.S. retailer Walmart topped the Fortune Global 500 (™) list for 2023, ranking the world’s largest corporations by revenue for fiscal 2022. On Fortune’s authoritative ranking of the (current) corporate world order, the Arkansas-based retailer claimed No. 1 for the 10th consecutive year and for the 18th time since 1995. Walmart joins a spike in the number of U.S. companies on the Global 500 this year, reaching its highest total since 2010 at 136 companies, which is also the highest for a stand-alone country.
The strength of the global energy sector was dramatically clear as Saudi Aramco nearly knocked the retail Goliath from its perch. Saudi Aramco (No. 2) benefited from soaring energy prices—fueled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—that also propelled Exxon Mobil (No. 7) and Shell (No. 9) back into the top 10 by revenue. In profits, Saudi Aramco earned $159 billion, the highest annual total ever for a Fortune Global 500 company.
Big Tech, meanwhile, proved it also remains a robust and profitable sector. Together, Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft brought in $233 billion in net income, with Apple (No. 8) earning just short of $100 billion in profits, the most ever by a U.S. company.
There were 39 newcomers to this year’s Fortune Global 500, including 23 companies making their debut, such as Warner Bros. Discovery (No. 449), plus first time Chinese companies, Contemporary Amperex Technology (No. 292) and Meituan (No. 467).
There are 16 companies returning to the list after at least a one-year hiatus, such as Colombia’s Ecopetrol (No. 397) and France’s Air Liquide (No. 488).
By geography, Chinese companies in total – Greater China: mainland China including Hong Kong, and adding Taiwan – top this year’s Global 500 with 142 companies. But the 136 U.S. companies generated more revenue in 2022—$13 trillion to Greater China’s $11.7 trillion. An economic slump, tighter regulation, and the lingering impact of COVID restrictions in mainland China hurt revenue at consumer-facing companies such as Alibaba (No. 68), Tencent (No. 147), and JD.com (No. 52).
THE 2023 FORTUNE GLOBAL 500 TOP 10 LIST:
- Walmart (U.S.)
- Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia)
- State Grid (China)
- Amazon.com (U.S.)
- China National Petroleum (China)
- Sinopec (China)
- Exxon Mobil (U.S.)
- Apple (U.S.)
- Shell (Britain)
- UnitedHealth Group (U.S.)
Fortune Global 500 companies generated revenues totaling $41 trillion—more than one-third of the world’s GDP—for an increase of 8% over last year. Cumulative profits were down 7% from last year at $2.9 trillion. Companies on the 2023 list employ 70.1 million people worldwide and are based in 232 cities and 33 countries/territories and regions around the world. The number of women CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies rose to 29 this year, from 24 last year.
FORTUNE Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell writes in the issue that this year’s list has an underlying theme: “Even the world’s largest companies can be upended and dethroned.”
Walmart, the largest company by revenue in the world for 10 years, “needs to watch its back,” she writes. Because of the “Ukraine war’s impact on oil and gas prices and Saudi Arabia’s ability to cheaply pump oil from its immense reserves, Saudi Aramco had a banner year.” But she notes the Saudi government, which controls Aramco, is plowing its profits into green-tech R&D and a host of other industries.
Fortune’s Global 500 issue, Shontell notes, also casts a spotlight on how Alphabet (No. 17) “is facing a classic innovator’s dilemma thanks to generative A.I., as explained in the latest issue by FORTUNE’s Jeremy Kahn. Alphabet’s Google has thrown significant money and expertise at A.I., but that same revolutionary technology is threatening the search business that has fueled Google’s profit-making machine since the 2000s. And the No. 1 Threatener is Microsoft (No. 30) thanks to its partnership with ChatGPT creator OpenAI,” notes Shontell.
“Whoever builds the best mousetrap in generative A.I., whether it’s Google, or Microsoft, or Meta (No. 81), or some as-yet-unknown startup, could transform how the world searches for information,” writes Shontell.
FORTUNE’s List editor, Scott DeCarlo said, “The corporations on our annual list of the world’s largest companies showed their muscle in 2022, delivering record-high revenue, and in some cases, profits. But the Fortune Global 500, the ultimate scorecard for business success, has been anything but static, as technological change and scientific breakthroughs threaten established leaders and elevate emerging new winners.”
Companies are ranked by total revenues for their respective fiscal years ending on or before March 31, 2023. All companies on the list must publish financial data and report part or all of their figures to a government agency. The latest figures in the list are as reported by the companies; any comparisons are with the prior year’s figures as originally reported. FORTUNE does not restate the prior year’s figures for changes in accounting.
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Patrick Reilly, PR@Fortune.com
SOURCE Fortune Media (USA) Corporation