More Chinese firms on Fortune Global 500, but profits trail US counterparts’

Fortune Global 500 features 91 mainland firms, with Sinopec at No 3, but profits lag US peers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 2:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 July, 2014, 11:41pm

More Chinese companies than ever before made it on to the latest Fortune Global 500 list released this week, but commentators noted that the firms lag their US rivals in profitability.

The latest rankings by the magazine show 91 companies from the mainland and four from Hong Kong are among the 500 largest in the world by revenue, two more than last year.

Despite four fewer companies from the United States on this year's list, the country still dominated the rankings, with more than 128 firms on it, including Wal-Mart Stores in the top spot.

Companies on the list racked up combined revenues of US$31.1 trillion last year, up 2.5 per cent on the year before, while combined profits rose 27 per cent to nearly US$2 trillion.

Royal Dutch Shell slipped to second, and oil giant Sinopec, the mainland's largest company by sales revenue, ranked third, the first time a Chinese firm has made the top three.

Seven Chinese firms were newcomers to the list, including Pacific Construction (No166) - one of the mainland's largest privately held enterprises - and China Development Bank (No122), the highest-ranked newcomer.

However, despite a strong showing by mainland and Hong Kong firms, they fell short of their US rivals in overall profitability.

The average profit last year of Chinese firms on the list was US$3.22 billion, Xinhua data shows, lower than the average of US$3.91 billion for all companies on the list, and about half the US$6.24 billion average profit of the US firms ranked.

"It is regrettable that the profitability of Chinese companies has declined significantly over the past year," Wang Zhile, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, wrote online.

"Chinese companies must make persistent efforts to keep winning on the global stage."

China's economy is expected to grow 7.3 per cent this year.