China’s Largest Companies Prove Why It’s The World’s No. 2 Economy

&l;p&g;&l;img class=&q;dam-image bloomberg size-large wp-image-39088730&q; src=&q;×0.jpg?fit=scale&q; data-height=&q;639&q; data-width=&q;960&q;&g; Two of China&s;s biggest household brands Alibaba Group and SAIC Motor have risen up the charts on the &l;em&g;Forbes&l;/em&g; Global 2000 list of the world&s;s largest companies. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

China is big–at everything.&a;nbsp;Its tech companies like HNA Technology are getting bigger. Asian e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba, founded by billionaire Jack Ma, is already a beast. China has some of the biggest airlines in the world. C-Trip International is bigger than Expedia by market cap. Car companies? Of the 32 auto and truck manufacturers on this year&s;s &l;a href=&q;;&g;&l;em&g;Forbes&l;/em&g; Global 2000 list&l;/a&g;, eight are Chinese. That puts them on par with Japan and clobbers the U.S. at just three.

As time goes on, China will have even more.

Of the top 10 global companies ranked by &l;em&g;Forbes&l;/em&g;, China and the U.S. are split down the middle at five each. All of the top companies are banks, led by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (the biggest public company in the world) and China Construction Bank (the second biggest public company in the world). The U.S. is also bank heavy, except for Apple, which comes in at No. 9 on the Global 2000 list.

Overall, China/Hong Kong account for 291 of world&s;s 2,000 largest companies, up from 262 in 2017. Back in 2003, China and Hong Kong had a combined 43 companies on the list. China alone has 232 companies this year.

The country&s;s banking sector hit around $35 trillion in loans this year, accounting for more than three times the size of China&s;s GDP in dollars. China overtook Europe&s;s banking assets of $31 trillion two years ago. Last year, China opened its banking sector to foreigners. UBS was the &l;a href=&q;; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;first to apply for a majority stake&l;/a&g; in a company which, ironically, already bares its name.

U.S. automakers will soon no longer need to partner with local Chinese manufacturers either, which could provide a boost to GM and Ford. Tesla can position itself to be the rich man&s;s BYD, the Chinese electric car and bus &l;a href=&q;; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;manufacturer that Warren Buffett owns a stake in.&l;/a&g;

Chinese car lovers have a thing for the Buick Excelle, a luxury sedan made in partnership with SAIC Motor Company. SAIC was the 108th largest company on the &l;em&g;Forbes&l;/em&g; Global 2000 list last year. This year it sits at #80. Hong Kong-headquartered Geely was ranked the 1,030th largest company last year. It&s;s up nearly 40% to #683. Guangzhou Automotive was #842. It&s;s now #691. Sadly for Buffett&s;s favorite electric vehicle company, BYD has slipped from the 599th largest company in the world to&a;nbsp;#694.

&l;img class=&q;dam-image getty size-large wp-image-167095786&q; src=&q;×0.jpg?fit=scale&q; data-height=&q;638&q; data-width=&q;960&q;&g; Warren Buffett has a stake in BYD, the Chinese electric car maker. BYD has slipped in Forbes&s; rankings of the world&s;s largest companies. (Photo by PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

&l;strong&g;See: &l;a href=&q;;&g;The 2018 &l;em&g;Forbes&l;/em&g; Global 2000 List&l;/a&g;&l;/strong&g;

Of the top 100 companies in the world, China and Hong Kong have 21 of them. The U.S. has 30. The difference between the two countries in terms of its corporate titans is quite stark, however. As expected, China is big because its banks are big&a;mdash;at least within the top 100. By comparison, the U.S. top companies are much more diverse. Banks lead the top 10, down the list includes the tech companies and energy companies and media and telecom firms. China is bank-heavy.

Anyone concerned about China&s;s over-reliance on lending growth needs to look no further than the Global 2000 list. It serves as a testament to China&s;s credit-fueled growth story over the last decade.

Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank is a newcomer to the list, ranked at#1,092. Zhongyuan Bank is another newbie, ranked now at #1,268.

But further down the list, one can see the &q;new China&q; emerging in the mix. HNA Technology, a tech holding company that owns electronics distributor Ingram Micro out of Irvine, Calif., and 360 Security Technology are a Global 2000 company today.

&q;Is China living up to its promise? Yes, and more,&q; says Mike Reynal, a portfolio manager for Sophus Capital in Des Moines. &q;I think China is growing more than is being reported these days,&q; he says, thinking 6.5% may be a tad too low. &q;There&s;s growth not just in the big cities, but you&s;re seeing it in second and third-tier cities now and in services. Consumer discretionary spending is exploding,&q; he says.

The Global 2000 relies on data from FactSet Research Systems to screen for the biggest companies in four metric: sales, profits, assets and market value. Each of the 2000 lists has a minimum cutoff value in order for a company to qualify: sales $4.47 billion, profits of $333.3 million, assets of $10.72 billion and market value of $6.55 billion. A company needs to qualify for at least one of the lists in order to be eligible for the final Global 2000 ranking.

&l;strong&g;For more coverage of the&l;span&g;&a;nbsp;&l;/span&g;&l;em&g;Forbes&l;/em&g;&l;span&g;&a;nbsp;&l;/span&g;Global 2000 ranking of the world&a;rsquo;s largest public companies, see below:&l;/strong&g;

&l;a href=&q;;&g;&l;em&g;Forbes&s;&l;/em&g;&l;span&g;&a;nbsp;&l;/span&g;Full List Of The Global 2000&l;/a&g;

&l;a href=&q;;&g;Global 2000: The World&s;s Largest Public Companies 2018&l;/a&g;

&l;a href=&q;; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;&l;img class=&q; wp-image-722 size-full&q; src=&q;; alt=&q;&q; data-height=&q;278&q; data-width=&q;960&q;&g;&l;/a&g;


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