The world’s most valuable non-state-controlled companies saw their market value grow by more than 40 per cent from two years ago, driven by the surge in growth of the digital economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Shanghai-based Hurun Research Institute which analysed data from December 1, 2020 to July 15, 2021. While many businesses have taken a huge hit worldwide, the top 500 companies on Hurun’s list gained nearly 50 trillion yuan in value, with the list’s total value reaching 375 trillion yuan (US$57.7 trillion). “The top 500 companies have gained more than 100 trillion yuan in value compared to before the pandemic, an amount equivalent to China’s annual GDP,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief research officer of the Hurun Report. “The main reasons include the maturation of the digital economy, the spike in value in biotech and other industries with core technologies as well as the mass money printing by US and other countries.” Two stocks showed how the pandemic has upended the business world since it was first reported in central China in early 2020. Top 10 self-made women billionaires lost quarter of fortunes since January: Hurun Chinese electric vehicle maker NIO saw a 25-fold surge, more than any other company on Hurun’s ranking. Moderna, a maker of Covid-19 vaccines , grew its market capitalisation by 12 times, underscoring its popularity amid increasing demand for its products amid the worsening pandemic. ByteDance , the Beijing-based company behind the global sensation TikTok , posted the second-highest gains this year, with its valuation rising 168 per cent to 1.8 trillion yuan behind only American investment group Blackstone Group in percentage terms. Hurun calculates the valuation of private companies by referencing similar companies in the same industry or based on the latest round of financing. Led by Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group , the owner of the South China Morning Post , the Chinese companies on the list have a combined value of 36 trillion yuan. The latest market data shows that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), ranked tenth globally by Hurun, has surpassed Tencent as Asia’s most valuable company . Both Tencent and Alibaba have taken a beating in market capitalisation in recent weeks, with the latter losing over US$400 billion from its February peak , an amount equivalent to the size of LVMH, the owner of the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton. The US has 243 companies on the list, ranking number one. China has four fewer than last year but added seven companies that made their debut this year, to come in at 47. Over the past two years, fuelled by the pandemic, the entertainment industry enjoyed the largest increase in value with 15 trillion yuan. On its heels were the retail and software industries, both of which increased by 13 trillion yuan. The list has also highlighted many losers. Of the 48 companies that fell off the list, 18 were from the US and 11 from China. In the latter were two educational institutions, TAL Education and Offcn Education, both battered by China’s historic crackdown on private tutoring platforms.