New technology wave and its impact on global capital markets
August 23, 2018
PwC has recently released its Global Top 100 report, which tracks market capitalisation of the largest public companies globally. Overall, the pace of global change is accelerating – only 85 companies from last year are still on the list, the highest level of annual churn – and if we look back ten years, the change is dramatic, with only 61 companies from 2009 still in the Top 100. Ten years ago, Exxon Mobil was the world’s largest public company – and this year, it has fallen out of the Top Ten.
What are the catalysts of the current wave of activity – and how do we see this developing going forward?
The US maintained its leading position this year, with 54 of the Top 100 and eight of the Top Ten companies being from the US. 48 percent of growth in the past year has been contributed by US companies, on the back of strong economic conditions and their pre-eminent position in the technology sector.
Tech companies are becoming a larger part of the US business, accounting now for 25 percent of the US market capitalisation. The global top three public companies are US technology companies: Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft, closely followed by Facebook in sixth position. These giants have an unequalled footprint and have reshaped our modern way of life, on a global scale.
More broadly, five companies in the PwC Global Top Ten public companies by market capitalisation are technology companies and two more are e-commerce companies, reflecting the shift towards “new economy” sectors.
Apple retained pole position for the seventh year in a row. Further, on 2 August 2018, the press widely reported that Apple became the first company in the modern history to reach a US$ 1 trillion valuation.
What led to this historic landmark and where to next from here for these leading US companies?
It has very much been a story about innovation, scale and reach – which stimulate growth and sustain the leading position of the US economy globally. These top companies continue reinventing themselves to remain relevant, creative and resilient, even as the world transforms at what seems like an ever-quickening pace.
Their reach and scope to grow organically and inorganically seems inexhaustible at the moment. Will there be any constraints – social, political, economical – that would derail or alter the future of these giants? How will the consumers, competitors, regulators influence the future path of these companies? Will China become more of a threat to the US dominance? Stay tuned for our next blog which explores China’s growing impact on global capital markets.