We all know how obsessed Beijing is with the Fortune 500 list of the world’s biggest companies, often using it as a benchmark for Chinese ambitions.
So the top leaders must be delighted that, for the first time, a Chinese company is topping this year’s list. PetroChina has overtaken ExxonMobil with a market value of $329.3 billion.
Indeed, there are three Chinese companies in the top ten, with ICBC ranked fourth and China Mobile ranked tenth. The other six companies are US firms.
Of course, the financial crisis and the collapse in American and European stock markets have played a big role in dragging down valuations for Western firms. But perhaps this moment is the tipping point. How long before Chinese companies make up the majority of the top ten?
(One side note – the most important sector, judging from the list, is banking. Just how is it that despite the economic downturn, and the widespread injections of public money into the banking sector, that the market value of our largest banks has more than doubled from $1,937bn to $4,030bn?)