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China overtakes Japan in Fortune 500 ranks
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) July 9, 2012


China overtook Japan on the Fortune Global 500 for the first time on the list of the world's biggest companies by revenue, the US business magazine said Monday.

While US companies held the plurality of slots on the list, with 132 US firms featured, Chinese companies came in second, with 73, followed by 68 Japanese companies.

China's ascent marked the addition of 12 companies to the prestigious list, while the number of European firms fell to 161 from 172 in 2011.

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell retook the top spot this year, knocking off US retail titan Wal-Mart from a two-year reign.

Eight energy businesses dominated the top 10, three of them Chinese companies; Sinopec Group, China National Petroleum and State Grid.

Shell had $484.5 billion in revenues in 2011, a 28.1 percent increase from 2010.

Commercial banks accounted for the second-largest industry on the Global 500 and the auto industry was in third place.

"Despite financial turmoil in Europe and disasters in Japan, the world's largest corporations had record profits and revenues in 2011," Fortune said in a statement.

In total, the Global 500 companies posted record revenues of $29.5 trillion, up 13.2 percent over 2010.

"Total profits rose seven percent, to $1.6 trillion, roughly equal to the gross domestic product of India," Fortune said.

The annual ranking reflected the shifting global landscape as the United States faces mounting competition from foreign rivals.

"Although the US still hosts the lion's share of Global 500 corporations, no country has lost more companies during the last decade. There are 132 US-headquartered businesses on this year's list, down from 197 a decade ago," the magazine said.

After Shell, the remaining companies in the top 10 are, in descending order: ExxonMobil; Wal-Mart Stores; Britain's BP; Chinese companies Sinopec Group, China National Petroleum and State Grid; Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Toyota Motor.

Apple shot up 56 spots from last year, landing at number 55. The California-based maker of the hot-selling iPhone, iPad and other gadgets posted 2011 revenues of almost $108.3 billion, a 66 percent rise over 2010.

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