The Great Shift of 2009


Every once in a while, we stumble upon a chart or table that says it all… here’s one hot off the press:


Oh my, where do we begin? This beast calls for bullet points:

  • Obviously, Wal-Mart is no longer No. 1. That title now goes to Royal Dutch Shell. The American consumer is out, and a global oil conglomerate is in… ’nuff said
  • There’s a clear sea change in American business. AIG, Lehman and Bear Stearns fell off the list from 2008-2009. Nike, Google and Amazon moved up 
  • The world is increasingly less Amero-centric. An American company is not No. 1 for the first time in over a decade. In the whole list for 2009, 140 companies are American, the lowest number on record
  • The world is increasingly more Sino-centric. Look at China National Petroleum and Sinopec. Both Chinese companies are by far the biggest movers up from 2008-2009. Sinopec, an oil and gas company, also marks China’s first foray into Fortunes’ top 10. China now has 37 companies in the list of 500, its largest presence ever
  • Oil is still where it’s at. In spite of all the price drama over the last year, seven of the top 10 firms are oil companies 
  • In the face of the worst global economic environment of our lifetimes, the world’s biggest companies are still making lots of money. The 2008 top 25 pulled in $4.88 trillion in revenue. This year, they made $5.38 trillion 
  • And freakin’ GE… what a black box. The world’s producer of everything was one of very few companies to retain the same position from 2008-2009. And despite the infamous GE Capital, the finance arm that apparently threatened to torpedo the whole company, GE ended up increasing revenues by nearly $7 billion. Hmmm…
The Daily Reckoning