You know you’ve made it when the Fortune 500 names you among its elite. That’s what the spin doctors at China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec to its friends) are saying today after the company ranked ninth in Fortune magazine’s list of the top global companies. The placings are determined by 2008 revenue, which means the trouble on Wall Street undermined the fortunes of corporate America (140 entries, the lowest since the list began). China’s state sector, meanwhile, which has been largely immune to the financial crisis, has thrived (37 entries, nine of them new, although Jardine Matheson – registered in Bermuda, based in Hong Kong, listed in London and Singapore, and controlled by Scots – doesn’t really count). So does this signify a shift in the global order? Not really, or at least not yet. Big oil features strongly in the global list, but the energy leanings are perhaps even more pronounced in China’s case. After Sinopec at nine, there is China National Petroleum Corp (PetroChina) at 13 and State Grid Corp at 15. We then have to go all the way down to 92 for the next Chinese entrant, Industrial and Commerical Bank of China. China Mobile, China Construction Bank, China Life, Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China and Sinochem filling out the national top 10. Incidentally, the largest Chinese carmaker, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, is placed at 359 – despite the fact that China is on course to overtake the US and become the world’s biggest auto market this year. The Fortune list, as one would expect, describes a China that is brand-light and utility-heavy. It will likely stay this way until Chinese brands expand overseas. And the thing to remember about China’s utility/energy companies is that they still live in something of a warped world. Domestic fuel prices are capped but global oil prices are not, which means Sinopec is effectively giving away money at the gas station while PetroChina would rather sell what it extracts overseas than at home. (China’s airlines are also in a strop about high fuel prices and controlled ticket prices.) Like the oil giants, State Grid is limited in what in can charge consumers for electricity, but it lets the power generators bear the brunt of market-based coal pricing. What would happen to the Fortune rankings, one wonders, should Beijing properly implement its energy price reforms?