Ping An leads GBA in Fortune China 500

The prestigious Fortune China 500 list has been released for 2019, with GBA companies standing out in measures of both revenues and profits. Shenzhen-based Ping An, which began as an insurer but is now more of a fintech firm, is the GBA’s leading light, ranking No. 4 in revenues and No. 6 in profits nationwide. 

A total of 86 from the GBA made the top 500. Moreover, 12 of the top 40 most profitable were from the GBA.

The top 3 remained in place: the two oil majors, Sinopec and PetroChina, followed by China Construction. For Ping An to come next on the list is remarkable, but it should also be kept in mind who is not on the list. Shenzhen-based Huawei is not a publicly listed company, and is therefore not included. Its revenues of RMB 720 billion in 2018 would have placed it behind Ping An, but ahead of the next-best GBA company, China Evergrande, in the top 20.

The ten best from the GBA included one tech company, Tencent; four property developers, Evergrande, Country Garden, Vanke and Poly Group; two appliances manufacturers, Gree and Midea, and three financial companies, Ping An, China Merchants Bank, and China CITIC.

Shenzhen dominates the GBA’s entries on the list, with 32, followed by 27 in Hong Kong, 13 in Guangzhou, 6 in Foshan, 3 in Zhuhai, 2 in Dongguan, and one each in Jiangmen, Huizhou and Zhongshan.

How will the list likely change in the coming years? The surge of Tencent from 33 last year to 27 this year might give an indication. Although revenues from the so-called “Internet service industry” account for just 2% of the top 500’s total, the industry’s market value is close to RMB11 trillion, accounting for 23.7% of the total. 

By contrast, property companies were seen as the biggest decliners. This might explain why Evergrande and Country Garden are so keen to push into new technologies: for Shenzhen-based Evergrande, it is New Energy Vehicles; for Foshan-based Country Garden, it is robotics. 

Indeed, where GBA companies most stand out on the list is among those categorized as “new economy enterprises” such as Internet, biomedicine, e-commerce, consumer electronics, new energy vehicles and communication equipment: GBA firms number 40 out of 95. This is supported by data from the Guangdong Statistics Bureau, which shows this category accounts for 25.1% of the region’s GDP as of the end of Q1, up 7% YoY. 

Nine GBA enterprises entered the list for the first time this year: Wei Shi Jia Jie Holdings (Hong Kong), OOCL International (Hong Kong), Midea Real Estate Holdings (Foshan), Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank (Guangzhou), Strait Petrochemical Holdings (Hong Kong), AAC Technologies Holdings (Shenzhen), Mulinsen (Zhongshan), Guangzhou Vision Electronic Technology (Guangzhou), and Shenzhen Desai Battery Technology (Shenzhen).

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