Chinese bank ICBC tops ‘Forbes’ Global 2000 list

ASIA RISING::Chinese banks took the top two spots on the list of the world’s largest public firms from Exxon and JPMorgan, as 41 Taiwanese companies also made the list


Fri, Apr 19, 2013 - Page 15

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC, 中國工商銀行) knocked US oil giant ExxonMobil from its perch as the world’s biggest public company on Wednesday to take the No. 1 spot on the Forbes Global 2000 list for the first time.

Underscoring the power move by Chinese companies to top global rankings, China Construction Bank (CCB, 中國建設銀行) leaped 11 spots from last year to the No. 2 spot on the Forbes list of the world’s largest public companies.

“This year’s list again reveals the dynamism of global business,” said Scott DeCarlo, the list’s editor.

Forbes said that ICBC and CCB were bumped higher in the ranks by double-digit growth in both sales and profits last year, although annual profit growth for both banks was the slowest rate since they went public.

ICBC brought in US$37.8 billion in profits on US$2.8 trillion in assets last year, while CCB earned US$30.6 billion on US$2.2 trillion in assets.

“Most analysts don’t expect a banking crisis in China, but rising defaults and shrinking loan profitability are serious threats to the country’s banking system,” Forbes said.

The rankings of the Forbes top 2000 are determined by an equal weighting of sales, profits, assets and market value.

Wall Street bank JPMorgan Chase, the world’s biggest company in 2011, slipped from No. 2 last year to No. 3 this year as sales dipped.

US conglomerate General Electric Co moved down a notch to the fourth spot.

US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil tumbled from its one-year reign at the top last year to the No. 5 spot, despite being the world’s most profitable company for the second year in a row with US$44.9 billion in net income, Forbes said.

Apple Inc, which has vied with Exxon over the past year for the title of the world’s most valuable company by market capitalization, was tied at No. 15 with Wal-Mart Stores.

Wal-Mart reclaimed the top perch as the word’s sales leader with 5.0 percent growth, toppling Dutch-Anglo energy firm Royal Dutch Shell.

Germany’s Allianz SE, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics CO, and US-based AT&T Inc joined the 25 top-ranked companies. Allianz gained the most ground, rising to No. 25 from No. 50 in last year’s list.

By country, the US, adding 19 members, continued to dominate the list with 543 members, its highest total since 2009.

Japan lost seven members, but at 251 remained the second-biggest country on the list.

For the first time since the list began in 2004, the number of Chinese companies on the list did not increase, but the country still had the third-largest presence with 136 members, Forbes said.

Forbes highlighted three Asian countries that showed standout overall growth in the list: Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

Belgium, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates had the biggest rise in company market values, growing by double digits from a year ago.

Eleven countries had only one firm on the list, including New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Vietnam.

Forty-one Taiwanese companies have been ranked among the top 2,000 companies this year, with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海) taking the lead in 113th place.

The result represents a remarkable leap for the world’s largest contract electronics maker, which was ranked 156th last year.

The second-highest-ranking Taiwanese firm is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) at 227th, followed by Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) at 444th, Quanta Computer Inc (廣達) at 567th and Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) at No. 610, Forbes said.

Additional reporting by CNA