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Top 10 most valuable companies in the world and how to trade them

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Cristian Cochintu
Cristian Cochintu
25 March 2024

The largest or biggest companies in the world are generally compared by market capitalization – a figure that represents the cost of buying all a company’s outstanding shares at their current prices. Discover the 10 most valuable companies in the world by market capitalization, revenue, and number of employees, learn more about each of these businesses and how to get exposure to them. 

The most valuable companies in the world are engaged in a variety of market segments, including those related to technology, communication services, energy, consumer cyclical, and financial services. The market capitalization of a corporation is determined by multiplying the total number of shares outstanding by the going share price on the open market.

Most of the largest companies in the world bring in hundreds of billions of dollars each year. However, some have sales of less than $100 billion annually, indicating that investors are more optimistic about their prospects for growth than those of the other valuable companies on the list.

The top 10 largest companies in the world by market cap

  1. Apple (AAPL) - $3T+
  2. Microsoft (MSFT) - $2.5T+
  3. Saudi Aramco (2222.SR) - $2.0T+
  4. Alphabet (GOOG) - $1.6T+
  5. Amazon (AMZN) - $1.3T+
  6. Nvidia (NVDA) - $1.1T+
  7. Tesla (TSLA) - $800B+
  8. Meta Platforms (META) - $800+
  9. Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) - $700+
  10. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSM) - $500+

  

*This list was updated on May 2024 but changes regularly in line with normal stock market fluctuations. All data below are courtesy of Companies Market Cap. All dollar values of data for Saudi Arabian Oil, which does not trade on any U.S. exchange, were converted using the exchange rate of USD to Saudi riyals. Private companies are not included in our lists as it is difficult to calculate their market value and know their financials.

1. Apple (AAPL)

Apple has reclaimed the top spot on the list of the world's most valuable companies. Apple creates, produces, and sells a wide variety of consumer technology products, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, wearable technologies, home entertainment systems, and more. Its Mac computers and iPhone handsets are two of its most well-liked goods. Apple has also greatly increased the amount of money it makes from services. Recently, Apple TV+, a streaming service for on-demand entertainment material, was introduced. It runs digital content stores, offers cloud and payment services, and operates digital content stores.

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2. Microsoft (MSFT)

After some difficult years, particularly between 2007 and 2013, Microsoft is now the world's second most valuable company in terms of market capitalization. Microsoft is a leading provider of software, hardware, solutions, and services on a global scale. The business is well recognized for its Xbox gaming console, Windows, and Office Suite software. The cloud computing services for which MSFT is a market leader are contributing an increasing portion of company profit and revenue. Azure is the name of Microsoft's primary cloud platform. In addition, Microsoft owns and runs LinkedIn, a well-known social networking site for job seekers.

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3. Aramco (2222:SR)

The Saudi Monarchy owns Aramco, the world's biggest oil company and the richest Arabic company in the last few years. Both an upstream and a downstream portion are run by Aramco. In its upstream sector, crude oil, condensate, natural gas, and natural gas liquids (NGL) are explored for and produced. Manufacturing, distribution, and the production of petrochemicals are all activities that fall under the downstream division. Additionally, Saudi Aramco has a chemical manufacturing division that produces complicated goods like synthetic rubber as well as simpler goods like aromatics and olefins.

4. Alphabet (GOOG)

Since August 2015, Google, now known as Alphabet, has been one of Wall Street's biggest success stories. It began as a search engine and has grown into one of the richest companies in the world because of significant business diversification. Search, the Android mobile operating system, the Chrome browser, Gmail email services, Google Drive online file storage, Google Maps, Google Photos, the Google Play app store, and YouTube are just a few of the technologies and digital services that the firm provides. Additionally, the business offers cloud services via Google Cloud, enabling programmers to build and distribute applications as well as several workspace collaboration tools. Additionally, the business generates revenue from a broad range of hardware items like Fitbit, Google Nest, and Pixel phones. Additionally, Alphabet runs its Other Bets division, which includes startup companies like Waymo, a company that specializes in autonomous vehicles.

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5. Amazon (AMZN)

E-commerce leader Amazon started out as an online bookstore, which goes to show just how much has expanded among the richest companies in the world. It's now the site where you can buy practically anything, and it’s the largest online retailer in the world. It also offers the most cloud computing services in the world. Its e-commerce operation consists of both products and content it purchases from vendors for resale as well as those provided by third-party merchants. Along with its cloud computing service and quickly expanding streaming entertainment business, Amazon also provides a variety of subscription services and web services. The business also creates and markets electronic products like Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire TVs, Echos, and Alexa. Through its subsidiary, Whole Foods Market Inc., Amazon sells foods.

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6. Nvidia (NVDA)

NVIDIA designs and develops graphics processors and related software. It was a pioneer in the development of the graphics processing unit (GPU), whose initial primary applications were in PC graphics and video games. The capabilities of the GPU are now being leveraged for use in AI and machine-learning applications. The Artificial Intelligence mega-trend pushed Nvidia into the top 10 biggest companies in the world in 2023. The company offers products and platforms comprised of hardware, software, services, and more to serve the gaming, professional visualization, data center, and automotive markets. Nvidia GPUs have also featured prominently in cryptocurrency mining.

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7. META Platforms (META

The largest social media network in the world, Facebook, is owned by Meta Platforms. Meta offers services and tools that let people and organizations communicate with loved ones using mobile devices, desktop computers, virtual reality (VR) headsets, and in-home gadgets. It provides Instagram, a photo-sharing app, as well as Messenger and WhatsApp, two different messaging apps, in addition to Facebook. Meta, one of the richest companies in the world in the last years, also runs Facebook Reality Labs, which sells products for virtual and augmented reality. The metaverse, a vast virtual environment that incorporates elements of social networking, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrency, is another project that Meta is funding and developing.

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8. Tesla (TLSA)

Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity, and no company has been riding that wave more than Tesla (TSLA). It's the most valuable automaker in the world and has the world's best-selling car in the Model Y, a compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) that seats seven adults. The company's vehicle models include also: the Model 3, a four-door, midsize sedan designed and priced for mass-market appeal; the Model S, a four-door, full-size sedan; and the Model X, a midsize SUV with seating for up to seven adults. The company's plans include the development and manufacture of a Cybertruck and a Tesla Semi, which is a commercial EV. Tesla also produces solar panels, provides solar energy generation, and supplies energy storage products, being now one of the most valuable companies in the world.

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9. Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB)

Berkshire Hathaway is the world's most valuable company in the world today specializing in security investments. It owns stakes in many of the world's most powerful corporations, including Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, and American Express. In the nineteenth century, two local textile firms merged to form Berkshire Hathaway. It wasn't until long later that famed investor Warren Buffett bought it and turned it into a conglomerate holding corporation. Today, Berkshire Hathaway holds a sizable number of subsidiaries involved in a wide range of commercial endeavors, including utility and energy generation and distribution, retail, insurance, and freight rail transportation. The corporation also runs manufacturing operations that produce goods for consumer, construction, and industrial applications.

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10. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSM)

The Taiwan-based Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., also known as TSMC, is a semiconductor foundry. The business produces a wide range of semiconductors on silicon wafers based on the exclusive integrated circuit designs that its clients supply. Its semiconductors are utilized in a variety of electronic goods, including digital TVs, game consoles, wired and wireless communication systems, industrial equipment, PCs, peripherals, and information applications. As such, it works with many of the biggest technology companies in the world, including Apple and Nvidia.

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What Are the Richest Companies in the World by Revenue?

While many people are interested in ranking companies by market value (market cap), the top companies by revenue differ somewhat. This could be because they are more capital-intensive and have lower profit margins. It could also mean that they are more mature companies with fewer growth prospects.

The top 10 companies by annual revenue as of May 2024 are:

  1. Walmart (WMT) - $600B+
  2. Saudi Aramco (2222.SR) – $500B+
  3. Amazon (AMZN) – $500B+
  4. Sinopec 600028.SS – $400B+
  5. Petro China (PTR) – $400B+
  6. Exxon Mobil (XON) – $300B+
  7. Apple, Inc. (AAPL) – $300B+
  8. Shell (SHEL) – $300B+
  9. UnitedHealth (UNH) – $300B+
  10. CVS Health (CVS) – $300B+

What Are the Largest Companies in the World by Number of Employees?

Walmart is the world's largest employee, by far, with over 2.3 million global workers.

The top 10 companies in the world by employee count as of May 2024 are:

  1. Walmart (WMT) – 2M+
  2. Amazon (AMZN) – 1,5M+
  3. Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision Industry) – 0.8M+
  4. Accenture (ACN) – 0.7M+
  5. Volkswagen (VOW3.DE) – 0.6M+
  6. Tata Consultancy Services – 0.6M+
  7. Deutsche Post (DHL) – 0.5M+
  8. BYD (BYDDF) – 0.5M+
  9. FedEx (FDX) – 0.5M+
  10. United Parcel Service (UPS) – 0.5M

What Is the Biggest Company on Each Continent?

While the U.S. dominates the global stock market, companies around the world have grown to enormous size.  

The biggest company on each continent by market cap (excluding Antarctica) are:

N. America: Apple, Inc. – $3T+
S. America: Petrobras – $90B+
Europe: LVMH – $400B+
Asia: Saudi Aramco – $2T+
Africa: Naspers – $38B+
Australia: BHP Group – $150B+

What is The Largest Companies in the World, by Country

We often see lists of the biggest companies in the world, but what is the biggest company in every country around the world? Which industry do you expect to see most of the biggest companies in the world fall under?

The biggest companies in the world, by country are:

USA: Apple - $3T+
Canada: Royal Bank Of Canada - $130B+
Australia: BHP Group - $150B+
Saudi Arabia: Aramco
Mexic: Walmex - 70B+
Brazil: Petrobas
UK: AstraZeneca - $200B+
Germany: SAP - $160B+
France: LVMH - $400B+
Spain: Inditex - 190B+
Netherland: ASML - 280B+
Switherland: Nestlé - 330B+
Italy: Enel – 70B+
Belgium: Anheuser-Busch Inbev - $100B+
Ireland: Accenture - $200B+
China: Tencent - $400B+
Japan: Toyota - $200B+
South Korea: Samsung – 300B+
India: Reliance Industries - $200B+
Russia: United Heavy Machinery - $50B+

Trading and Investing in the most valuable companies in the world

Investors like to diversify their portfolios by investing in stocks in different industries with varying market caps, revenues, and earnings growth projections. Due to their size, the biggest companies in the world are generally believed to be safer. While they do not offer the same growth opportunities as emerging mid-cap and small-cap companies, the most valuable companies are innovative market leaders. As a result, their stock price can gain significantly through specific market initiatives or around groundbreaking market solutions.

Typically, investing in the richest companies in the world is used as a core long-term investment strategy within a portfolio because of their stability and dividends. Financial advisers usually suggest diversifying an investment portfolio by including some of the biggest companies in the world. Allocations and investment decisions among large-cap stocks, mid and small sizes are typically based on risk tolerance and investment horizons.

Traders, on the other hand, might be seeking to capitalize on short-term share price gains. Rather than investing in the shares, traders speculate on the share’s value. They can speculate on it rising by going long, as well as falling by going short. The most valuable companies in the world are highly liquid and tend to be less volatile than other stocks and for these reasons are more popular among short-term and intraday traders.  

1. Investing in the largest companies in the world

Investors buy shares outright in the hope that they will increase in price and can be sold later for a profit. They uphold the traditional mantra of buying low and selling high – known as going long. Investors will take positions over a longer period, attempting to profit from share price changes as well as dividend payments.

While this means that they might need more initial capital to get started when compared to trading, their losses would be capped at this initial outlay. That said, investors should be aware that they might receive back less than they initially invested, even in the most valuable companies in the world.

2. Trading the biggest companies in the world

Trading stocks means that you’re speculating on a share’s price movements with derivatives – without taking direct ownership. Derivatives are leveraged products, which means that you won’t need to commit the full value of the position. But bear in mind that leverage can increase both your profits and your losses.

With leveraged products, you can ‘buy’ (go long) the shares if you think the stock’s price will rise, or you can ‘sell’ (go short) if you think the stock’s price will fall. Shorting with derivatives can be a way to hedge against downward price movements in your non-leveraged investment portfolio, or it can be a way to generate profits outright from shares that are falling in value. But when you go short your potential losses are theoretically uncapped because there’s no limit on how high the share price of the biggest companies in the world can rise.

Why Trade and Invest in the Largest Companies in the World?

Most investors understand the importance of diversification through asset allocation within a portfolio, which is meant to balance out the risk and reward trade-off between equity, debt, and cash holdings. Under the equity or stock positions within a portfolio, however, investors have a wide array of investment options, each with different characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages.

An investment in the most valuable companies in the world is common among both growth and value investors as a portion of an overall asset allocation. The biggest, or richest companies in the world have unique advantages for investors, including stability in size and tenure, steady dividend payouts to shareholders, and clarity in valuations.

1. Stability

The greatest advantage to adding the most valuable companies in the world to an investment portfolio is the stability they can provide. Because the richest companies are so large and have a well-established reputation with consumers, they are less likely to come across a business or economic circumstance that renders them insolvent or forces them to stop revenue-producing operations completely. Companies that are considered small- or mid-cap do not have the same level of stability, and therefore carry a greater degree of risk than investments in the most valuable companies in the world today.

2. Dividend Payouts

Another advantage to investing in the biggest companies in the world is the potential for steady dividend payments. The stock prices for large-cap companies are not typically slated for high rates of growth over time because they are already well-established in the market. This can create a stagnant stock price and little-to-no capital appreciation for investors. However, despite the lack of rapid growth in terms of stock price, the richest companies in the world often pay dividends to compensate shareholders. These dividends can lead to impressive comprehensive returns for large-cap investors when they are added to the performance calculation over time. The richest companies in the world that pay steady dividends are common among income investors or those seeking income through relatively conservative investing.

3. Research and Valuation

The most valuable companies frequently have extended operating histories, making it simple for creditors and investors to conduct research on corporate operations and profitability levels. Accurate and timely financial statements must be provided to shareholders and potential investors by publicly traded large-cap corporations. This makes it simple to decide whether a company is worthwhile to invest in. In addition to research, financial statements, company history, and current business activities can all be used to calculate an accurate valuation. Understanding the risk and potential return of investing in the biggest companies in the world requires consideration of these factors.

The Russell 1000 Index, which includes about 1,000 of the biggest companies in the world by market capitalization that are based in the United States, can be used by investors to identify and assess the most valuable companies. A large-cap benchmark exchange-traded fund, or ETF, or one of the hundreds of large-cap mutual funds that are readily available can be used to purchase individual shares of the richest companies in the world.

  

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Conclusion

Today's largest companies in the world are valued at several trillion dollars. This makes these businesses bigger and more valuable than the whole economies of several nations! The most valuable companies in the world today are dominated by energy and technology firms. In the past, the railways, steelworks, and trading firms dominated. Time will tell if these top performers can hold onto their positions, and what industries can rise to challenge them.

Remember that although the biggest companies in the world are often those that “everybody knows,” it’s still important to do your homework before you buy or trade. Another option is to look for a large-cap-focused ETF for your holdings or trades. 

Free resources  

Before you start trading and investing in the biggest companies in the world, you should consider using the educational resources we offer like CAPEX Academy or a demo trading account. CAPEX Academy has lots of free trading and investing courses for you to choose from, and they all tackle a different financial concept or process – like the basics of analyses – to help you to become a better trader or make more-informed investment decisions.  

Our demo account is a suitable place for you to learn more about leveraged trading, and you’ll be able to get an intimate understanding of how leveraged products work – as well as what it’s like to trade with leverage – before risking real capital. For this reason, a demo account with us is a great tool for investors who are looking to make a transition to leveraged trading.

FAQs about the most valuable companies in the world

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Cristian Cochintu
Cristian Cochintu
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Cristian Cochintu writes about trading and investing for CAPEX.com. Cristian has more than 15 years of brokerage, freelance, and in-house experience writing for financial institutions and coaching financial writers.