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The World's 1000 Largest Manufacturers 2008: The Chinese Influence

June 6, 2008
Emerging worldwide markets helped solidify the petroleum and automotive industries as the top revenue earners in 2007.

The crowded streets of China, which once bustled with bicycles as the main means of transportation, have been overtaken by cars. The industrial revolution that's fueled the world's most populous nation's transformation from two wheels to four has contributed to record worldwide demand for oil and transportation needs. In 2007, China consumed an all-time-high 173 million tons of crude oil, a 6.8% increase over the previous year, according to China commodities consultancy and research firm

That being said, it's understandable why 14 of the top 15 companies on IndustryWeek's 13th annual IW 1000 list of the world's largest manufacturing companies come from either the motor vehicles or petroleum and coal products sectors, including two from China. Ranked 12th on the list is China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., and PetroChina Co. Ltd. is the 15th-largest IW 1000 manufacturer. On average, China-based IW 1000 manufacturers increased revenue 40% in 2007, the largest gain for an IW 1000 country with more than 20 companies appearing on the list. U.S. manufacturers averaged an 11.4% gain, while the mean gain for Canadian companies was 13% (see chart, "Top 20 Revenue-Generating Nations").

U.S.-based Exxon Mobil Corp. tops the list with revenues of $395.7 billion followed by Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell at $355.8 billion and U.K.-based BP PLC with revenues of $289 billion. Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. topped General Motors Corp. (still the largest of the Detroit Big Three) as the largest automaker with revenues of $213.5 billion compared with GM's $181.1 billion.

Search The Database
Search and view the entire thirteenth annual IW 1000 list of the world's largest publicly held manufacturing firms.View the entire list alphabetically or sort the list by several categories including industry, country, ranking, and financial performance measures.

Methodology for Ranking the IW 1000
What goes into the 13th annual IW 1000.China had only five manufacturers on the IW 1000 with revenues of more than $10 billion, but if car maker SAIC Motor Co. Ltd.'s 2007 performance is any indication of China's future industrial output, that will likely change in the coming years. China's largest auto manufacturer increased vehicle sales by 26% over 2006 and revenue soared 417% over the previous year to US$15.2 billion. The strong performance propelled the company 436 spots to No. 244 on this year's IW 1000 list. Another Chinese manufacturer that made significant gains is Tongling Nonferrous Metal Group Co. Ltd., which moved up 324 notches on the list to No. 644. India is another manufacturing market on the rise as evidenced by nonferrous and metals mining company Sterlite Industries India Ltd. moving up 251 spots.

The 2006 merger of Thermo Electron Corp. and Fisher Scientific International Inc. led to the second-highest jump on the list with the newly formed Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. moving up 327 notches to No. 369.

While revenue determines where manufacturers fall on the IW 1000 list, it doesn't tell the whole story. Several smaller, lesser-known manufacturers achieved significant profit growth, which sometimes gets overshadowed by the astounding revenues generated by the top-tier companies. For instance, U.K. manufacturer Smiths Group PLC's profit increased seventyfold after selling off its aerospace unit to General Electric in 2007. The provider of security scanning equipment, medical devices and engineering services saw profit rise from US$48.5 million to $3.5 billion. Buoyed by record steel prices in 2007, West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel Corp. realized more than a thirtyfold profit increase and record revenue of $7 billion.

At the same time, several companies near the top of the IW 1000 posted more modest earnings increases and in some cases losses. Although Exxon Mobil beat its previous-year earnings by just 3%, the $40.6 billion profit marked another record for the oil giant. General Motors (No. 8) lost $38.7 billion in 2007, largely from a third-quarter charge for unused tax credits.

For a closer look at similar trends from the 1,000 largest manufacturers in the world, including each company's revenue, revenue growth, profit and profit growth for 2007, see the IW1000 online database.

Top 20 Revenue Generating Nations
Country/Province # of Companies Revenue Total (millions) Average Revenue Growth (%)*
1. United States 305 $5,050,765 11.4
2. Japan 209 $2,676,703 11.1
3. Germany 41 $1,244,290 6.3
4. France 47 $1,107,405 6.1
5. United Kingdom 41 $846,995 8.0
6. South Korea 40 $619,023 14.2
7. Netherlands 14 $500,062 5.3
8. China 29 $443,857 39.7
9. Italy 16 $337,886 14.7
10. Taiwan 32 $318,189 23.3
11. Canada 28 $317,333 12.7
12. Switzerland 19 $308,767 14.5
13. Russia 7 $246,825 25.8
14. Brazil 13 $207,170 19.9
15. Finland 15 $199,705 5.3
16. India 12 $195,743 25.5
17. Sweden 15 $188,313 15.5
18. Spain 7 $158,435 16.6
19. Norway 5 $141,873 6.2
20. Luxembourg 3 $123,471 44.4
*Manufacturers that did not appear on the 2007 IW 100 list were not included in revenue growth averages.

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