In this article, we are going to talk about the 15 Most Powerful and Influential Companies in the world. You can skip our detailed explanation of the criteria we used to rank the companies in our list and go directly to 5 most powerful and influential companies.
“In the modern age, the notion of nations and empires being the most powerful entities has now become a past thing. Gone are the days when foreign and economic policies were the privileged domains of elected representatives and officials. The 2008 financial crisis that took the world into one of the greatest recessions did not happen due to a national economy failing but because the banks particularly the ones dealing with mortgages, bankrupted triggering a ripple effect that was felt throughout the world.”
Classifying the most powerful and influential companies based solely on the pretext of revenues would not be fair. Some industries and institutions have such great financial and geo-political leverage that undermining their importance would be unfair. Others have played a crucial role in swaying public opinion about different social, political, and issues related to the economy. Few companies have also brought great innovation in the field of the tech industry. The likes of Amazon which have demonstrated unparalleled monopoly over the online business are also worthy to be considered.
At first, we are going to explain the basis of identifying 15 most powerful and influential companies. Note that this is just an academic way of identifying such organizations based on criteria that many readers may agree or disagree on. So, let’s get started.
When it comes to investing in a company, most investors and shareholders look for a company that has a huge market capital or has the ability to attract huge gains in the near future. Market cap often gives a good indication a company’s strength.
Another important factor in assessing a company’s standing is what type of social impact it has created. In the modern age of social media, no one can deny its importance. State policies and strategies are being directly affected because of this factor.
Political and Geo-strategic importance
Many companies have forced governments in their countries to launch coups and attempt geopolitical adventures in different regions of the world. From the ousting of president Mossadegh of Iran in 1952 to the united fruit company’s involvement in Guatemala in 1954, organizations around the world especially related to the oil sector keep on influencing the decisions of big powers. That’s why we felt necessary to include this point in our rankings as well.
Financial and investment companies
Holding a key to treasury often makes you a boss, even if that money is legally not yours. Wall Street has an insurmountable amount of leverage over the federal government of the United States just because they are the drivers behind financial management of trillions of dollars of assets which makes them essentially powerful and influential organizations.
In the 21st century if you are not innovating then you are gradually proceeding towards death. Many organizations especially those in the tech industry have to constantly innovate and make breakthroughs which ultimately is not only for the benefit of consumers but also has a great role in expanding their influence. Recently, Elon Musk is being hailed as an exemplary visionary who is making constant innovations in Space travel, telecommunications, Electric vehicles, neural link, solar technology all the while becoming one of the richest persons in the world at one point, even surpassing Jeff Bezos at one point.
Let’s start our list of 15 Most Powerful and Influential Companies:
15) Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM)
What more influence can a company want if its former CEO would go on to become the secretary of state of the United States. A direct descendent of Standard Oil, ExxonMobil has acquired great influence throughout the world. It has an annual revenue of more than $264 billion. ExxonMobil has been long accused of allegedly lobbying for climate change denial as well as impacting the foreign policy of the United States. It has also been accused of allegedly covering up oil spills around the world and profiteering from political instability in the Middle East along with other oil-producing giants.
14) Volkswagen group (ETR: VOW3)
Do you know what Bentley, Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bugatti have in common? They all are owned by Volkswagen Group, a German multinational car manufacturing company. With annual revenue of $282 billion, Volkswagen has acquired a formidable position in the automotive industry since its inception. Volkswagen is also known for its iconic 1930s Beetle that has been a generational symbol for people of many ages. It fully owns more than 342 subsidiaries and has the largest market share in Europe.
13) Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT)
One of the largest defense corporations in the world, Lockheed Martin holds immense importance for militaries and defense agencies around the world. It operates across a wide range of sectors from aeronautics, healthcare systems, renewable energy systems, intelligent energy distribution, and compact nuclear fusion. Lockheed Martin is more famously known for its cutting-edge jets that include the likes of SR-71 Blackbird, F-22 Raptor, and more recently 5-35 fighter jet. With an estimated revenue of almost $60 billion, Lockheed Martin is the biggest defense company in the world with most of its products going to the United States Department of Defense.
12) Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA)
With a market cap that has reached over $800 billion, the list of most influential companies without Tesla would be incomplete. All thanks to Elon Musk, charismatic and ambitious founder who intends to revolutionize the world with his tech companies, Tesla has surpassed automobile giants such as Toyota, General Motors, Ford, and Volkswagen. Tesla has dominated especially in the field of electric vehicles and with the pace of its expansion, it is expected that Telsa would be crossing $1.5 trillion market capitalization by the end of 2030.
11) Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A)
With a market cap hovering around $530 billion, Berkshire Hathaway is one of the major holding conglomerates based in Omaha, Nebraska. It is one of the Fortune 500 companies and mostly famous for its head Warren Buffet, one of the most successful investors in the world. BRK.A has major shares in many publicly-traded companies ranging from Coca-Cola, Apple, Bank of America, American Express, etc.
10) Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS)
Another big name in the field of finance, Goldman Sachs deals with investment management, assets management, and other financial services. Goldman Sachs ranks 62 on the Fortune 500 list and has a revenue crossing more than $36 billion. Its employees have gone on to serve in many important positions in both governmental and private financial institutions, including roles like head of state, treasury secretary of United States, presidents of European Central bank as well as former prime minister of Australia. Over the years, Goldman Sachs has been involved in many controversies including alleged stock price manipulation, alleged use of offshore tax heavens and the famous Malaysian 1MDB scandal. Despite all this, Goldman Sachs remains one of the most powerful and influential companies.
9) Sinopec group (SHA: 600028)
China’s petroleum and chemical corporation is a state-owned enterprise by the People’s Republic of China. With annual revenue of more than $314 billion, it’s one the most profitable state-owned enterprise and is the second-largest company by revenue, just behind Walmart.
Huawei got a lot of attention after former U.S President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Often dubbed as the leader in 5G technology, Huawei is one of the largest telecommunication companies in the world with interests in consumer electronics and telecommunication systems. It is the largest seller of smartphone devices overtaking both Apple and Samsung in 2020. Since the development of the 5G technology by Huawei, many western nations have been calling out Huawei for its alleged role in data breach and privacy as well for having relations with the Chinese military and government.
7) Disney (NYSE: DIS)
From Marvel comics to iconic characters like Mickey mouse, Disney is everywhere when it comes to the entertainment industry. It is the second-largest entertainment company in the world with annual revenue of more than $65 billion and subsidiaries which range from Marvel, Pixar, ABC and 20th-century studio. Similar to Facebook and Google, Disney has reshaped the psyche of children and has brought a cultural revolution across the globe.
6) Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL)
The parent company of GOOGLE, Alphabet Inc. is another example of a company that has been constantly reshaping the way society thinks and perceives the world around it. Right now, Alphabet Inc has a market capitalization of more than $1.2 trillion and holds dozens of subsidiaries which also include GOOGLE, YouTube as well as many others. Its subsidiary Google which we all are very familiar with is the largest search engine in the world and is the main source of its revenue.
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Disclosure: None. 15 Most Powerful and Influential Companies is originally published at Insider Monkey.