Top 20 Biggest Companies in the World

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£2.96 trillion. Yes, trillion.

That’s how much the world’s 20 largest companies are collectively worth. But which companies are they exactly? And, most important, which one takes the top spot?

Read on to discover the top 20 biggest companies in the world in 2017 in terms of revenue.

But first, here are some quick facts (in case you can’t be bothered to read the whole article):

  • The biggest company in the world in terms of workforce is Walmart with an estimated 2.3 million employees, followed by China National Petroleum (1.5 million) and State Grid (926,067).
  • Walmart is also the most profitable company with revenue exceeding $485.57 billion. State Grid comes in second with $315.19 billion and Sinopec Group third with $267.51 billion.
  • The US has the most companies to appear on this list – nine to be exact. This is followed by China with three companies, and then Germany and the UK with two each. Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea and Switzerland are featured once each.



20. Exor

Industry: Diversified financials
Country: Italy
Employees: 302,562
Revenue: $154.89 billion (£117.94 billion)

Exor, which is incorporated in the Netherlands, is controlled by the Agnelli family, a multi-industry business dynasty founded by Giovanni Agnelli – one of the original founders of Piedmont which would go on to become the FIAT motor company. The leading investment company currently has holdings in numerous companies, including Juventus FC, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ferrari.

19. AT&T

Industry: Telecommunications
Country: USA
Employees: 268,540
Revenue: $163.78 billion (£124.71 billion)

AT&T can trace its origin back to the Bell Telephone Company, which was invented by none other than Alexander Graham Bell after he invented the telephone. Today, it is the world’s largest telecommunications company and the 21st largest mobile telecom operator in the world with some 138.8 million mobile customers.

18. General Motors

Industry: Automotive
Country: USA
Employees: 225,000
Revenue: $166.38 billion (£126.71 billion)

Founded back in 1908 as a holding company by Buick owner William C Durant, the current company was formed following the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of General Motors Corporation in 2009. Before its bankruptcy, it was the biggest automobile manufacturer in the world. Today, the company designs, manufactures, markets and distributes vehicles in 37 countries across 12 brands, including Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet.

17. Daimler

Industry: Automotive
Country: Germany
Employees: 282,488
Revenue: $169.48 billion (£129.07 billion)

The Daimler Company was founded by motor industry pioneer and fraudster Harry John Lawson in 1896. In 1902, the company was awarded a Royal Warrant to provide cars to the British monarch until it lost that privilege in the 1950s after being supplanted by Rolls-Royce. In 1960, the company was sold to Jaguar Motors who continues to use the Daimler name.

16. Glencore

Industry: Mining and crude oil production
Country: Switzerland
Employees: 93,123
Revenue: $173.88 billion (£132.42 billion)

Founded in 1973 by billionaire commodity trader Marc Rich, Glencore (an acronym for Global Energy Commodity Resources) is an Anglo-Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company based in Baar, Switzerland. The current company was formed by the merging of Glencore and Xstrata in 2013. Glencore is the world’s largest family business and one of Switzerland’s top employers.

15. Samsung Electronics

Industry: Electronics and electrical equipment
Country: South Korea
Employees: 325,000
Revenue: $173.95 billion (£132.95 billion)

Founded in 1969, Samsung Electronics is now the world’s second largest IT company (behind Apple) and the biggest mobile phone and smartphone manufacturer thanks to the popularity of its Samsung Galaxy devices.

14. CVS Health

Industry: Healthcare
Country: USA
Employees: 204,000
Revenue: $177.52 billion (£135.98 billion)

CVS Health began in 1964 as a chain of health and beauty aid stores, but pharmacies were added several years later. The company currently has more than 9,700 stores in 49 states and is one of the largest employers of pharmacists and nurse practitioners in the US.

13. UnitedHealth

Industry: Healthcare
Country: USA
Employees: 230,000
Revenue: $184.84 billion (£140.77 billion)

The UnitedHealth Group was founded in 1977 by Richard T Burke, and offers products and services through two subsidiaries: UnitedHealthcare and Optum. Together, they serve around 115 million customers. UnitedHealth has been named one of the top companies in the US for its self-insured health plans.

12. BP

Industry: Petroleum refining
Country: UK
Employees: 74,500
Revenue: $186.6 billion (£142.11 billion)

British Petroleum, or BP, is one of the world’s seven oil and gas giants. Founded in 1908 as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, it became the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1908 and, finally, BP in 1954.

11. McKesson

Industry: Healthcare
Country: USA
Employees: 64,500
Revenue: $198.53 billion (£151.2 billion)

Co-founded by John McKesson and Charles Olcott way back in 1833, McKesson began as an importer and wholesaler of botanical drugs. Daniel Robbins later joined the enterprise following Olcott’s death and the company was renamed McKesson & Robbins, before reverting back to McKesson in 2001 following the dismissal and prosecution of many executives.



10. ExxonMobil

Industry: Petroleum refining
Country: USA
Employees: 72,700
Revenue: $205 billion (£156.13 billion)

ExxonMobil was formed in 1999, following the merger of two companies: Exxon and Mobil. It is currently the largest of the Big Oil Companies in the world. It has 37 oil refineries in 21 counties.

9. Apple

Industry: Computers and office equipment
Country: USA
Employees: 116,000
Revenue: $215.63 billion (£164.23 billion)

Apple was co-founded by Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne and the late Steve Jobs (who was fired from the company and later rehired). Consistently ranked as one of the best global brands, Apple’s activities lie in designing, developing and selling consumer electronics, computer software and online services. The company operates nearly 500 stores across 22 countries.

8. Berkshire Hathaway

Industry: Conglomerate
Country: USA
Employees: 367,700
Revenue: $223.6 billion (£170.29 billion)

Founded in 1839, Berkshire Hathaway is currently controlled and led by Warren Buffett – one of the richest people in the world. The conglomerate holding company wholly owns BNSF Railway, Dairy Queen, GEICO and Helzberg Diamonds, and also has shares in American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, Kraft Heinz Company and United Airlines.

7. Royal Dutch Shell

Industry: Petroleum refining
Country: The Netherlands, UK
Employees: 89,000
Revenue: $240.03 billion (£182.8 billion)

Headquartered in the Netherlands and incorporated in the UK, Royal Dutch Shell is one of the Big Oil companies in the world. It is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration, distributing, refining and power generation.

6. Volkswagen Group

Industry: Automotive
Country: Germany
Employees: 626,715
Revenue: $154.89 billion (£117.96 billion)

Volkswagen was founded in 1937 in Berlin, with business activities dedicated to designing, manufacturing and distributing passenger and commercial vehicles, motorcycles, turbomachinery and engines. It is the largest automaker by sales and the second largest automobile producer by volume. Their brands include Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, Porsche, Scania, SEAT and Volkswagen.

5. Toyota

Industry: Motor vehicles and parts
Country: Japan
Employees: 364,445
Revenue: $254.69 billion (£193.98 billion)

Toyota was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937, itself a spinoff of his father’s automobile company Toyota Industries. Today, the company produces vehicles under five brands: Daihatsu, Lexus, Hino, Ranz and, of course, Toyota. It is the largest company in Japan.

4. China National Petroleum

Industry: Petroleum refining
Country: China
Employees: 1,512,048
Revenue: $262.57 billion (£199.98 billion)

China National Petroleum is the first of three Chinese corporations to make the list. The state-owned oil and gas company was founded in 1988, and currently has 30 international exploration and production projects with operations in countries like Canada, Iran, Peru and Thailand,

3. Sinopec Group

Industry: Petroleum refining
Country: China
Employees: 713,288
Revenue: $267.51 billion (£203.75 billion)

Rounding the top three biggest companies in the world is Sinopec, an oil and gas company based in Beijing and founded in 1998. Sinopec is involved in the production of petroleum products like diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.

2. State Grid

Industry: Utilities
Country: China
Employees: 926,067
Revenue: $315.19 billion (£240.02 billion)

State Grid is the Chinese state-owned electric utility company, China’s largest corporation in terms of revenue and the second largest company in the world. It was founded in 2002, and currently serves Australia, Brazil, Italy and the Philippines in addition to China.

1. Walmart

Industry: General merchandisers
Country: USA
Employees: 2,300,000
Revenue: $485.87 billion (£370 billion)

The biggest company in the world in 2017 is Walmart, both in terms of profit and number of employees. Founded by Sam Walton in 1962, the chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores and grocery stores has operations in Canada and the US, as well as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India, Japan, Mexico and the UK.


Do you work for any of these companies or have in the past? Join the conversation down below and share your thoughts and experiences with us!

Don’t forget to check out which jobs can make you a billionaire, if you someday want your own company listed here!



This list has been adapted from the Fortune Global 500 List 2017. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by on 30 October 2017.