Largest Public Companies on Earth [The Corporate Giants of 2020]

What are the largest public companies in the world?

There are over 400 American companies in the top 1000 with a combined market value of over $30 trillion.

Since 2021 is in the rearview mirror, it’s time to see how the largest public companies have fared during 2020!

Let’s talk about our methodology first. We’ve used market cap as our primary metric. While it can be argued that the market cap isn’t a reliable factor, as the market is prone to undervaluing or overvaluing business entities, it is an important one. After all, it does represent the company’s market potential.

And so, we decided to talk about the biggest investment opportunities. In addition to that, this article will also show some emerging trends on the market.

Take a look below and find out which companies made our list:

Top 5 Largest Public Companies

Let’s start with the giants! All but one of these companies are based in the US.

1. Apple Inc. is currently the biggest company in the world, with a market cap of $2.266 trillion.

(Source: Koyfin)

Apple Inc., once known as Apple Computer Company, is a tech corporation established in 1977 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Since its founding, Apple was a renowned hardware and software company. It’s probably most famous for its lines of personal computers and portable devices like Macs, iPhones, and iPods.

The company’s headquarters are in Cupertino, California. Apple was also the first member of the highly exclusive trillion-dollar companies club. It exceeded $1 trillion in market capitalization back in 2018.

Apple still has some of the best-performing stocks, skyrocketed in the last 12 months, increasing by a staggering 75%.

You may also be interested in How to Buy Apple Stock

2. Saudi Aramco is the second biggest company in the world, with a market cap of $2.028 trillion.

(Source: Koyfin)

Saudi Aramco manages over one hundred oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia and has the second-largest proven crude oil reserves. These facts alone are enough to make it one of the biggest global companies.

It was founded in 1933 and is headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Its initial public offering happened in 2019, and the company’s market value soared to $2.05 trillion — making it the first company to pass the $2 trillion market cap.

Its stock has also experienced a massive jump of 152% in the last 12 months.

3. Microsoft Corporation is the third biggest company in the world, with a market cap of $1.806 trillion.

(Source: Koyfin)

Microsoft was founded in April 1975 by Harvard College students Bill Gates and Paul Allen. This global computer tech company produces, licenses, and supports dozens of software products and computing devices. Windows OS and Microsoft Office are what helped Microsoft earn the third spot on our list of the most valuable companies in the world.

Even though the company was first started in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it was moved to the State of Washington in 1979. The company has been stationed in Redmond, WA since 1986.

Discounting the dip in March 2020, Microsoft shares have been rising steadily for the past year, achieving growth of 40%.

You may also be interested in How to Buy Microsoft Stock

4. Amazon is the fourth biggest company in the world, with a market cap of $1.696 trillion.

(Source: Koyfin)

Amazon.com is an e-commerce corporation based in Seattle, Washington. The company was started in 1994 by Jeff Bezos and has been cited as one of the main reasons behind the rise of online shopping.

(Check out the latest Amazon revenue statistics… they are an eye-opener!)

Amazon didn’t take long to become one of the top 1000 companies in the world. They achieved the goal by selling everything one could ever need (books, electronics, toys, etc.). They also functioned as a platform for other sellers. The former has taken center stage as of late — products such as Kindle and Amazon Echo are breaking the sales records.

The stocks of one of the most valuable companies in the world climbed by 68% during 2020.

You may also be interested in How to Buy Amazon Stock

5. Alphabet Inc. is the fifth biggest company in the world, with a market cap of $1.301 trillion.

(Source: Koyfin)

The fifth-largest company in the world might not sound familiar at first, but it should be. It’s Google’s parent company. This tech giant achieved market dominance with its search engine, and the list of this company’s products and services is endless. Google Maps, YouTube, Android, Chrome, and Nest are just some noteworthy examples. The company is one of the biggest R&D spenders on the planet.

Google was founded in 1998 in Menlo Park, California by Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The duo remains in charge of Alphabet Inc. to this day. Understandable, considering that they made it one of the most valuable companies on the planet. Google headquarters are located in Mountain View, California.

Along with most of the stock market, Alphabet Inc. experienced a dip in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite that, its shares have been climbing steadily, and they’re worth 34% more than a year ago.

You may also be interested in How to Buy Google Stock

The next 5 Largest Public Companies in the World

Wondering who’s left outside the big 5? Here they are. As you’ll notice, there are more non-US companies here.

6. Tencent Holdings Limited has a market cap of $895.6 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

Tencent Holdings Limited is a Chinese multinational corporation established in 1998. It was first incorporated in the Cayman Islands by five people: Ma Huateng, Zhang Zhidong, Xu Chenye, Chen Yidan, and Zeng Liqing. It first began as Tencent Inc. Today, it’s one of the biggest companies by market cap in China, as well as in the world.

The company is engaged in online advertising services. It also specializes in Internet-related services and products, entertainment, artificial intelligence, and technology.

Those betting on Tencent’s stocks have been winning big, as the value has increased by 94% in the last 12 months.

7. Tesla, Inc has a market cap of 827.32 billion

(Source: Koyfin)

While it’s now easily one of the top American companies, Tesla had a rocky start. It was founded as Tesla Motors in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, who had a goal of creating a car manufacturer that is also a technology company. After initial investments, a battle for control ensued.

A lawsuit in 2009 was settled by allowing five first employees and investors to call themselves co-founders — this includes Elon Musk, the company’s current CEO.

While Tesla’s electric cars are its most famous product, the company also makes solar panels and energy storage solutions. It’s probably the best-known electric-vehicle and clean-energy-product manufacturer in the world.

Tesla has probably experienced the most rapid growth out of all companies on this list and is now one of the most well-known and largest companies in the world. A year ago, before its stock price increased by 570%, it wasn’t even among the top 100 companies by market capitalization.

You may also be interested in How to Buy Tesla Stock

8. Facebook has a market cap of $760.56 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

We’re all familiar with this company! Facebook provides online social networking services.

It allows users to communicate with practically every other user by messaging them and sharing statuses, images, and videos.

Facebook was founded in 2004 by four Harvard University students; Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. Formerly called TheFacebook, the website was an instant hit, quickly becoming one of the top 1000 companies. The platform has grown into one of the biggest websites in the world, with 2.7 billion active users every month. The corporation’s headquarters are in Menlo Park, California.

Like most companies, Facebook has experienced the March dip in 2020, but its stock price is increasing steadily. It is now 32% higher than 12 months ago.

You may also be interested in How to Buy Facebook Stock

9. Alibaba Group Holding Limited has a market cap of $725.27 billion.

(Source: Yahoo Finance)

Alibaba Group Holding Limited was formed in 1999 by Jack Ma, an English teacher from Hangzhou, China. It set its first site helping small Chinese exporters, manufacturers, suppliers, and entrepreneurs to trade internationally. Since then, the company has grown into one of the largest corporations in the world and is China’s most expensive brand.

Today, it deals with wide-ranging sales and retail in online marketplaces. It’s also involved in cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, innovation initiatives, and others.

Alibaba Group Holding Limited has been doing reasonably well on the stock market, with a gain of 23% in the last 12 months.

10. TSMC has a market cap of $593.17 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Limited was founded in 1987 by Morris Chang, and it’s one of Taiwan’s largest companies. It’s the world’s largest semiconductor foundry, specializing in the manufacture of integrated circuits and related services.

The 2020 March dip doesn’t seem to have affected the company much. It still managed to achieve a stock price increase of 140% in the last 12 months.

The Final 10 Largest Public Companies

While they’re not in the top 10, these firms are still massive.

11. Berkshire Hathaway Inc has a market cap of $545.98 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

One of the world’s most valuable companies, Berkshire Hathaway, is based in Omaha, Nebraska. The company was founded in 1839. The conglomerate consists of companies such as GEICO and Duracell, as well as portions of companies such as Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz.

This means that they deal with insurance, retail, candy production, and import, as well as with vacuum cleaners, jewelry sales, footwear, and uniform distribution and production. They even handle newspaper publishing. Oh, and also, electrical and gas services.

Berkshire Hathaway’s stocks have fluctuated during 2020, but they’re worth about the same as a year ago.

12. Samsung Electronics has a market cap of $507.6 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

Samsung Electronics is a South Korean corporation. It’s one of the world’s largest producers of electronic devices and one of the top public companies in the world. The company makes a vast range of consumer and industry electronics, including but not limited to:

  • appliances
  • digital media devices
  • memory chips
  • integrated systems

It has grown into one of the most significant names in technology and contributes about a fifth of South Korea’s exports.

Samsung was formally created as a grocery trade store on March 1, 1938, by Lee Byung-Chull, in Taegu, Korea. The company first entered the electronics businesses in 1969 with black-and-white TVs, mainly exported to China. During the 1970s, the corporation started to transport home electronics products worldwide. It quickly rose to the top of the list of publicly traded companies by market capitalization.

Share value on the stock market has been recovering from the March dip. It has increased by 49% in the last 12 months.

13. Visa Inc. has a market cap of $433.03 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

Visa is one of the biggest companies in the US and one of the most well-known brands in the world. It was founded by Dee Hock in 1958, and it’s currently based in Foster City, California.

The company operates in the financial sector, offering digital payment solutions. Visa accommodates millions of international monetary transactions via debit, credit, prepaid cards, and commercial payment solutions.

Visa’s stocks have just about recovered from the March dip and are worth slightly more than they were 12 months ago.

14. Johnson & Johnson has a market cap of $424.5 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

Johnson & Johnson was established in 1886 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was founded by the three Jonson brothers — Robert Wood, James Wood, and Edward Mead.

In 1894, Johnson & Johnson introduced one of its most iconic products: Johnson’s Baby Powder, composed of crushed talc. Now, Johnson & Johnson is one of the largest public companies on the world market. They develop medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and other packaged goods.

Johnson & Johnson’s stock value fluctuated during 2020 and experienced the inevitable March dip, but it’s still showing steady growth potential. It increased by 8% in the last 12 months.

15. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has a market cap of $407.43 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

JPMorgan Chase & Co is a global banking and financial services holding corporation established by J. P. Morgan in 1871. Its headquarters are in New York City. It developed into one of the highest valued companies in the world after J.P. Morgan and Chase Manhattan Bank merged in 2000.

JPMorgan Chase & Co bank deals with:

  • investment banking
  • private banking
  • commercial banking
  • retail banking in the United States
  • credit card services
  • asset management
  • private wealth management
  • treasury
  • securities divisions

It also happens to be the largest bank in the world by market capitalization.

Despite being the bank with the largest market cap, JPMorgan Chase & Co stocks have been hit hard by the March dip, and its stock value is about the same as it was a year ago.

16. Walmart has a market cap of $398.28 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, Walmart Inc. is one of the largest and most well-known chains of discount stores. Sam Walton established Walmart as Wal-Mart Stores in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962 and concentrated its early advance in rural areas, avoiding direct rivalry with other chains, such as Sears and Kmart.

As it expanded and became one of the world’s biggest companies, Walmart developed new retail formats, introducing Sam’s Club discount warehouses.

Walmart’s stock value has been growing steadily throughout 2020 and the first months of 2021 and is now 23% higher than a year ago.

17. Nvidia Corporation is worth $335.67 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

Nvidia is an American company most famous for designing graphic cards for professional and gaming markets. It was founded in 1993 by Jensen Huang and Chris Malachowsky. Its HQ is in Santa Clara, California, and it remains one of the top companies in the world when it comes to graphical hardware.

2020 was good for Nvidia, and its stock rose by 129%.

18. Mastercard Incorporated has a market cap of $332.85 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

MasterCard is an American multinational corporation and a major player in the financial services industry worldwide. The corporation’s major services cover payment processing among banks that issue debit and credit cards. More than 25,000 banks around the world use MasterCard’s services.

The company was founded back in 1966 by multiple California-based banks. The 20th spot holder on our largest publicly traded companies list was originally called Interbank. Later on, it was renamed Master Charge. The parent corporation behind MasterCard was the United California Bank. Other banks, such as Wells Fargo, Crocker National Bank, Bank of California, and Union Bank of California, joined later. In 1979, the Master Charge was finally renamed to MasterCard.

MasterCard shares have been heavily affected by the March dip, putting a halt to the steady growth the company has experienced over the last 14 years. The stock price has stabilized and it’s almost 6% higher than 12 months ago.

19. Nestle has a market cap of $330.22 billion.

(Source: Yahoo Finance)

Headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, and operating factories in over 80 countries, Nestle is easily a household name.

Nestle’s story begins in 1866, with the creation of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company founded by American brothers Charles A. and George Page. The second part of the story started with Henri Nestlé developing an infant food supplement in 1867. The two companies joined together and formed what is now one of the biggest companies in Europe and the world.

Nestle’s list of products includes a variety of baby foods, frozen foods, chocolate products, candy, ice cream, instant coffees and teas, pharmaceuticals, etc.

20. UnitedHealth Group has a market cap of $321.38 billion.

(Source: Koyfin)

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated is a managed health care company founded in 1977 by Richard T. Burke. It has long been one of the leading publicly traded companies that specialize in health care products and insurance services. Its headquarters have remained in Minnetonka, Minnesota since its founding.

As almost all companies on this list, UnitedHealth Group has been affected by the March dip but has managed a solid recovery. Its stocks are worth 24% more than a year ago.

Conclusion

Looking at the list of the 20 largest public companies, we can easily spot a few trends.

First, the top spot holders mostly deal with Internet-based services and electronics in general. The second one is that most companies on the list are based in the US.

We can expect the first trend to become even more persistent in the coming years. The second one is likely to change, as more and more companies from the Asian market emerge.

Hopefully, you found this article informative. Until next time, when we’ll bring fresh data to the table!

ABOUT AUTHOR

Milan is an English Language and Literature graduate. He never wanted to spend his workdays with groups of 20 teenagers. Instead of teaching like most of his college friends, he went on to become a content writer. In addition to writing, his passions include mountain biking, hiking, and playing the guitar.

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