Chinese tech companies climb up fast on the Fortune Global 500 list

One hundred and twenty Chinese companies have made it onto the 2018 Fortune Global 500 list, including a number of the country’s big tech companies. The three countries with the most companies on the list are the US (126), China (120), and Japan (52). Companies are ranked by total revenues for their respective fiscal years.

According to Fortune, the 500 companies for 2018 together reached a record high $1.88 trillion profit, a 23% increase year-over-year. Their total revenue amounted to $30 trillion.

Chinese state-backed companies still show strong fiscal power, and private companies and tech giants are moving up the list fast.

Of the top 100, there are 22 mainland Chinese companies, and among them, only one is both a tech company and non-state owned – Huawei. Other major mainland Chinese tech companies include SAIC Motor (36), Beijing Automotive Group (124), JD (181), Geely (267), Alibaba (300), Midea (323), and Tencent (331).  JD has moved up 80 places, from 261 in 2017 to 181, Alibaba moved up 162 places, and Tencent’s ranking improved by 147 spots (see the full list of Chinese companies here).

However, as an interesting reference of a company’s fiscal power, the list can imply little about a business’ vitality potentials, and can only apply to the tech landscape in China in a limited way.

Policy support can replace innovation as the main factor to bring a company to a leading position on the list. State Grid, Sinopec Group, and China National Petroleum, rank as the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively. As part of a national strategy, energy groups are on the priority protection list of the country’s economic, social, and political plan. Local companies such as Shaanxi Coal & Chemical Industry (294) are also likely to benefit from Belt and Road plans.

China’s growing tech giants on the list, namely JD, Alibaba, and Tencent, cannot adequately show their potential. But in just a few years, it’s not easy for the country to breed another Apple (11), Samsung (12), or Amazon (18).

Meanwhile, China’s other active tech players such as Baidu are not listed. Baidu’s autonomous driving plan, Baidu Map, and its research ambitions, such as a newly establish quantum research institution, are also gradually shaping the country’s tech landscape.

Additionally, global companies do not always have a comfortable time in China. Walmart finds it hard to compete with its Chinese rivals in the local market. Ford, on the other hand, is striving to secure sales in the country.