20 GBA firms in Fortune 500

Chinese media were awash with glowing reports yesterday trumpeting a milestone in the Fortune 500 global rankings. For the first time, there are more Chinese companies on the list than American: 129 to 121. What we find most interesting on the list is the presence of 20 companies from the Greater Bay Area.

Below is a snapshot of how Chinese companies grew on the Fortune 500 over the past 20 years.

The GBA hasn’t added to its total from last year, but there was one important change: Zhuhai-based home appliance giant Gree made it to 414th, while Hong Kong’s Noble Group fell out. Shenzhen and Hong Kong now account for seven entries each, followed by three in Guangzhou, two in Foshan, and one in Zhuhai. The 20 are mainly engaged in finance, real estate, Internet and high-tech, retail, and automobile manufacturing.

Six GBA firms shot up the rankings:

  • Foshan-based developer Country Garden surged to 177th (+176); 
  • Internet giant Tencent was 237th (+94);
  • Shenzhen-based developers rose – China Evergrande 138th (+92) and Vanke 254th (+78); 
  • Guangzhou-based conglomerate Cedar Holdings, a newcomer to the list last year, jumped 60 places to 301st; 
  • Shenzhen-based China Merchants was 244th (+36).

Compared with other regions of China, GBA firms stand out for mostly being consumer-oriented, such as automobile, computer and insurance, and their ranks are dominated by private enterprises. Moreover, GBA companies on the list tend to be tightly integrated, i.e., many cooperate in innovation and industrial planning. 

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