In just a few short months since its public listing in September, online retail giant, Alibaba, has already grown to become the 12th biggest company in the world.
Alibaba listed on 19 September 2014 with a valuation of just over $220 billion – by the close of its first day in trade, the company was worth $231 billion.
Six weeks on, Alibaba is now worth $243 billion, and is neck and neck with American retail giant, Wal-Mart Stores (WalMart) which has a market cap of $246 billion.
WalMart, which boasts 4,233 stores in the US, and 6,000 stores internationally, delivered revenues of $476 billion in 2013.
According to technology-focused investment group, Pacific Crest Securities, Alibaba could be seen climbing by as much as 30% annually, with the firm pricing stock expectations as high as $125 a share (compared to the $99 mark it’s currently at).
“For fiscal 2014 (ended March), Alibaba’s retail marketplaces grew 56% year-over-year and generated GMV of $270 billion, greater than that of Amazon.com, eBay, JD.com [of China] and Rakuten [of Japan] combined,” the firm noted.
However, despite Alibaba’s rosy prospects, the company is still a far stretch away from the world’s most valuable companies.
The world’s biggest company, Apple, with a market cap of over $627 billion, is worth more than Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria, which is worth $521.8 billion – and is almost Alibaba’s entire valuation away from the global number two, Exxon Mobil, which is valued at $402 billion.
Apple recently announced its fiscal 2014 Q4 earnings which, thanks to a massive boost from its latest iPhones and the announcement of its new range of iPads and other devices, pushed its stock up over 30% year-to-date.
With record revenues expected from its latest devices, the king doesn’t look like it will be losing its crown any time soon.
These are the 20 biggest companies in the world by market capitalisation.
Top 20 global companies by market cap
|#||Company||Market Cap (US$ billions)
|6||Johnson & Johnson||299.62|
|13||Proctor & Gamble||234.92|
|15||Royal Dutch Shell||229.27|
|16||JP Morgan Chase||223.38|
South Africa’s biggest companies
South Africa’s top 20 companies are lead by multinational businesses such as mining giant, BHP Billiton – which has a market value of over R1.6 trillion – and British American Tobacco at over R1.1 trillion.
South African brewer, SAB Miller, which is now based out of London, is also approaching the R1 trillion value mark.
Notably, in the past 6 months media and Internet company, Naspers, has overtaken luxury good corporation Richemont as the country’s third biggest listed company at a valuation of R553 billion.
Following Richemont is MTN, which leads as South Africa’s highest-valued telecoms firm.
Top 20 South African companies by market cap
|#||Company||Market Cap (ZAR billions)
|2||British American Tobacco||1,131.48|
Data sourced from Bloomberg (31 October 2014)