Can you believe Apple has over a trillion dollars in market cap? The company recently became the first publicly traded US company to reach $1 trillion and was quickly followed for a brief time by Amazon too.
It’s honestly hard to fathom such as huge number - the kind of number usually only mentioned when talking about national economic inputs and outputs - or debt in the US, but it’s not the only tech company in the world with market caps as big as an entire country’s GDP.
To make it into the top 10 richest tech companies in the world you need to have a market cap (in October 2018) of $185bn. That top 10 make our phones, processors, computers, TVs, fridges, and more. They also run our clouds and power our favourite apps and social networks. Quite frankly, they’re everywhere, so it is no wonder they’re swimming in cash.
Apple: $1.09 trillion
Apple’s little logo is probably one of the most recognisable logos ever.
Founded by the late Steve Jobs, you see Apple's logo every day on anyone who is carrying around an iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac, or some other device released by Apple since it was founded in 1976. Apple may have started out small with rudimentary computers, but it is now powerhouse with its smartphones. Even its other devices - like the iPad and Apple Watch - tend to set the tone in their product fields. It's not just hardware, Apple has its own AI assistant, cloud service, music streaming offering and is rumoured to be venturing into TV programming too taking on Netflix and others.
All these efforts have helped make Apple the world’s first trillion-dollar public company. For comparison, Indonesia’s GDP - or total dollar value of all goods and services produced - in 2017 was $1.01 trillion, according to the World Bank. Yep. Apple’s market cap is equivalent to having the 16th-largest national economy in the world. It’s unimaginable, really.
Amazon: $912.23 billion
Amazon began as an online retail site going after the Barnes & Nobles of the world.
It’s not focused so much on books anymore, as it sells just about everything and anything you could imagine. It also makes its own speakers, tablets, even microwaves and an assistant called Alexa. Its most popular, home-grown devices include the Kindle, Fire TV, Echo speakers, and Fire Tablets. But these are just some of Amazon’s own products - and it doesn’t include the countless third-party products it sell through its website. Amazon is even a giant in the cloud computing space, thanks to its AWS (Amazon Web Services) division.
The change from books to everything including groceries definitely helped propel Amazon to be not only one of the richest companies in the world but also one of the world's biggest employers employing over 560,000 people. Its current market cap is roughly $61 billion more than Turkey's entire 2017 GDP, according to the World Bank.
Microsoft: $860.83 billion
Microsoft is one of the most famous electronic companies, because it has reached so many people in so many ways. For example, it recently revealed nearly 700 million devices now run Windows 10, the latest version of its flagship Windows operating system.
The company may have started out with a software operating system to control Personal Computers, but now, it’s creating laptops, tablets, game consoles, and much more. Even if you don't own a Microsoft device, like a Surface Laptop or Surface Pro, you might use its software or apps, like Microsoft Office.
It’s also one of the top gaming companies with Xbox and franchises like Halo and Minecraft, and it has a powerful cloud computing arm known as Azure. It’s no wonder that the company’s current market cap is about $26 billion more than the Netherlands’ 2017 GDP, per the World Bank.
Alphabet: $796.67 billion
Not everyone may recognise Alphabet, but everyone knows its original name: Google.
This company started as a search engine in 1998. And it has grown into not only the most popular search engine in the world, but also a huge provider of cloud services, from Google Cloud to G Suite, as well as a maker of phones and computers and operating systems like Android. Its Pixel phones are hugely popular. And it’s responsible for Chromebook laptops, now found in every US school, as well as Chromecasts, the Chrome browser, Google Homes, etc. Almost all of its hardware products come with Google Assistant, too.
Alphabet doesn’t only include Google, however. It also encompasses Calico (a biotech firm), Verily (a life science research lab), Waymo (a self-driving car R&D unit), Google Fiber (internet services), and more.
There are only 18 countries in the world with a bigger GDP than Alphabet’s market cap.
Facebook: $455.89 billion
Facebook has been one of the most popular social media sites for more than a decade and continues to grow, despite its several privacy and security controversies over the past year, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal and huge breach in September 2018.
It began as a social media site founded by Mark Zuckerberg for Harvard students, but it’s expanded to anyone in the world who is 13 years or older. Beyond Facebook itself, there is also Messenger, the Facebook Watch video-on-demand service, and acquired apps like Instagram and WhatsApp.
Facebook also owns Oculus, a VR headset maker, and it now makes video chat devices, so expect its total market value to continually grow. Currently, its market cap equals Thailand’s GDP for last year.
Samsung Electronics: $249.07 billion
Founded in 1938 in South Korea, where it’s still based, Samsung currently makes and sells a massive portfolio of products, including phones, computers, smartwatches, televisions, and networking devices, among other things. Recently, Samsung has even dabbled in the AI space, launching Bixby to compete with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri.
But one of Samsung’s most recent and noteworthy products is the Galaxy Note 9. It also makes the Galaxy S series of flagships, and is supposedly close to launching a foldable phone. At that point, we wonder if it'll surpass Finland's GDP, which now hovers around $251 billion, according to the World Bank.
Cisco Systems: $217.09 billion
Cisco, started in 1984 and based in San Francisco, develops and sells networking equipment and other high-tech services and products. Some of its main product lines are internet routers and networking software. These are meant to bring internet into the home or a business.
It also offers products made to help with wireless access and mobility. And it keeps up with internet security, with firewalls and cloud-based gateways. Its top products, however, are a wide range of routers. Likely because of those, it has a total market valuation that just about matches Portugal’s 2017 GDP.
Intel: $214.64 billion
Intel is a widely-known creator of chips, boards, and processors for computers and other electronics.
It is most popular for its computer processors, the 9th generation Core i9 being the newest to be released. Its products are used in some of the most famous computer brands in the world, from Dell to HP.
Intel has also experimented with devices in the past, like the Vaunt smart glasses and RealSense camera. But it’s really those chips that helped Intel to have a total market valuation equal to Portugal’s 2017 GDP.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing: $212.11 billion
Taiwan SemiConductor Manufacturing is often referred to as TSMC.
It is the largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry in the world, and it’s based out of Taiwan, obviously. TSMC has become well-known over the past decade, thanks in part because of its partnership with Apple. It is tasked with making chips for the iPhone and iPad. It is currently the sole manufacturer of the A12 chip, which makes it vital to the launch and success of every new iPhone.
Amazingly, a company so little-known as TSMC still manages to have a market cap that surpasses the GDPs of 140 countries in the world, including Romania and Peru.
Oracle: $185.15 billion
Oracle is a software developing company that specializes in database software, cloud-engineered software, and enterprise software. The California-based company’s software helps companies of all sizes in their digital transformation efforts. Oracle Cloud is also one of the company’s flagship products, so it competes directly with Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.
Somehow Greece manages to have a bigger GDP than Oracle, but don’t feel too bad for this three-comma club company. Its total market valuation still beats out the GDPs of 137 other countries.