China's Great March up the Fortune 500 List
Financial crisis or no financial crisis, companies in Greater China are moving up in the world. The just released Fortune 500 list for 2009 says so, with Chinese companies taking 43 places, 8 more than last year’s 35, and rankings are also rising.
Shagang Group, a steel company, is the only private Chinese company to make the list. The other China new listings are all state-owned enterprises. Lenovo, which ranked 499th on last year’s list, failed to make the cut this year.
Chinese company rankings have benefited from RMB’s appreciation against other main currencies over the last year. A comparatively stable domestic market has also supported these companies.
Sinopec, with $20.7815 billion in annual sales, moved up this year to 9th from 16th, taking the Chinese honors, while PetroChina climbed from 25th to 13th. Both benefited from last year’s high oil prices.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, with income of about $15.95 billion, was China’s earningest company. China Construction Bank, the Bank of China, and the Agricultural Bank of China are also among the 50 most profitable companies.
Steel companies have seen the most dramatic rise among the Chinese Fortune 500 companies. Baosteel, with $35.5166 billion in 2008 sales, lifted its ranking 39 notches this year to 220th, and has been on the list for the past five years, while Heibei Steel Group and Shagang Group rank 375th and 444th, respectively. The world recession has had its effect on China’s steel industry, but it has also served as a gateway onto the Fortune 500 list. As China’s economic stimulus has boosted steel demand, China has become the world’s only safe haven for the industry. China’s steel production has hit new highs in the recent months as most of the rest of the world’s other steel companies are still cutting production by 20% to 30%. Even at last year’s end, the industry’s most difficult time, Chinese steel makers’ production was cut by only 10% at most.
Other companies entering the list for the first time include Citic Group, China Unicom, Huaneng Group, and Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
China Unicom made the list as a result of the restructuring of China’s telecoms industry. Its operations income last year grew 70.4% over the previous year, one of the highest growth totals among all enterprises.
China’s three telecom operators all enjoyed good performance last year. China Mobile, with $65.015 billion in sales ranks 99th, 49 places above last year’s ranking. China Telecom also moved up from 288th last year to 263rd.
Lenovo, which ranked 499th last year, is the only Chinese company to be dropped from the club this year. During its fiscal 2008, ending March 31, the company’s losses reached over $200 million, the highest in the company’s history. Other PC companies also saw losses. Taiwan-based Asus dropped from 363rd last year to 436th.
Aviation Industry Corporation of China is the only Chinese military enterprise on the list, and ranks 426th, with annual sales of $21.738 billion and a net profit of $568 million. It ranks 11th in the world’s aviation industry.