How the world’s biggest companies fight to stay ahead

Viewed in Fortune

Fortune has just released the 2019 edition of “Global 500,” its annual listing of the world’s 500 largest companies by revenue.

With $514B in annual revenue, the largest company on the 2019 list (by far) is Walmart.

This year’s listing of the world’s largest companies reveals two macro trends.

First, many companies continue to grow by acquisition, not by organic means.

Leaf examines the case of U.S. biopharmaceutical giant AbbVie Inc., which is pursuing a $63B acquisition Botox manufacturer Allergan. In so doing, AbbVie joins many other companies that are using acquisition growth to replace investments in organic growth.

This is a trend particularly prominent in both the technology and pharmaceutical industries, Fortune’s Clinton Leaf reports.

A second trend is China’s ascent on the Global 500 list.

Twenty years ago, just eight China-based companies could be found on the list. But this year, if one includes Global 500 companies based in Taiwan, 129 Chinese companies appear on the list.

While most of these Chinese companies appear toward the bottom of the Global 500 list, China’s ascent on the list is nonetheless notable. For the first time ever, the number of Chinese companies on the list (129) exceeds that of the United States (121).

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