Apple Earns Title of World’s Most Profitable Company on Fortune Global 500 List

In June, Apple was ranked as #3 on the 2017 Fortune 500 annual list of the top U.S. corporations based on gross revenue. Today, the Fortune Global 500 rankings have been released, using the same data collected in the earlier rankings but expanding it and adding in companies on a global scale, resulting in a list that shares the 500 largest companies in the world.

Apple sits at #9 on the list in terms of total revenue, a spot it retains from 2016, and having climbed from #15 in 2014 and 2015. Where Apple sits above all other companies is in the profits category, earning the title of the most profitable company in the world with an annual profit of $45.6 billion. Apple earned the top spot despite a 14.4 percent drop in its annual profits compared to the previous year.


Rounding out the top 5 slots below Apple are all banks based in China: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China ($41.8 billion), China Construction Bank ($34.8 billion), Agricultural Bank of China ($27.6 billion), and Bank of China ($24.7 billion). Further down the most profitable rankings are Alphabet at #9 ($19.4 billion), Samsung Electronics at #10 ($19.3 billion), and Microsoft at #13 ($16.7 billion).

Apple's profile on the Fortune Global 500 ranking includes a chart of its history on the list, including its origins at #422 in overall revenue back in 1995, its dropping off of the list from 1998 to 2005, and its peak growth to #9 in 2016. Otherwise, Apple's profile includes the same quote as its Fortune 500 ranking, describing a company that "appeared to hit a wall" this past year with iPhone sales.

After more than a decade of solid growth fueled first by the iPod music player and then by the even more popular iPhone, Apple finally appeared to hit a wall, with lackluster sales “relatively speaking” for other products such as the iPad and Apple Watch and a heavy reliance on upgraded phone models. But the most profitable publicly-traded company in the world is investing heavily in software and its efforts in new areas of opportunity, including automobiles, remain in development (and under wraps). Apple was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Cupertino, Calif.
Lackluster iPhone sales contributed to an overall revenue decline for Apple throughout much of 2016, but now it's predicted that the company will see a noticeable uptick in sales thanks to the launch of a significantly redesigned "iPhone 8," expected to be announced and debut this fall.


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Apple Retains #3 Spot in Annual Fortune 500 Rankings

One year after rising to claim the third spot on the annual Fortune 500 list, Apple hasn't moved places in 2017 and remains #3 on the list of the top U.S. corporations based on gross revenue. Going back seven years, Apple's previous rankings include 5th place in 2015 and 2014, 6th place in 2013, 17th place in 2012, 35th place in 2011 and 56th place in 2010.


A few rankings surrounding Apple have shifted around in 2017, however, with Berkshire Hathaway and Exxon Mobil swapping places this year. In 2016, Berkshire Hathaway sat at #4 on the Fortune 500 while Exxon Mobil was #2, and this year Berkshire Hathaway climbed to second place while Exxon Mobil dropped below Apple to sit in fourth place.

Otherwise, Walmart is still #1, with the rest of the list rounded out by companies like CVS (#7), AT&T (#9), Alphabet (#27), Microsoft (#28), Disney (#52), Netflix (#314), and Tesla (#383).

A chart of Apple's Fortune 500 history, including its lowest spot at #325 in 2002

Apple's profile on the Fortune 500 list this year talked about the company's recent sales troubles with Apple Watch and iPad, as well as an increasing reliance on iPhone sales, stating that, "Apple finally appeared to hit a wall." References were also made to Apple's look forward into an self-driving vehicle system and its focus on software services.
After more than a decade of solid growth fueled first by the iPod music player and then by the even more popular iPhone, Apple finally appeared to hit a wall, with lackluster sales—relatively speaking—for other products such as the iPad and Apple Watch and a heavy reliance on upgraded phone models. But the most profitable publicly-traded company in the world is investing heavily in software and its efforts in new areas of opportunity, including automobiles, remain in development (and under wraps). Apple was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Cupertino, Calif.
This year marks 23 years that Apple has been on the Fortune 500 list, with $215.6 billion of revenue in the 2016 fiscal year, down 7.7 percent from the previous year. Apple's annual profit also dipped down to $45.6 billion -- a 14.4 percent decrease -- but still remained more than the annual profits of Walmart ($13.6 billion) and Berkshire Hathaway ($24 billion).


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