Huawei climbs rankings on The Fortune Global 500 despite US government sanctions


The Fortune Global 500, the annual ranking of the top 500 enterprises worldwide as measured by business revenue, ranked Huawei 44 this year, up from 49 in the previous year, despite US government sanctions on the company. 

The number of Chinese companies, including those from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the island of Taiwan, stood at 143 on the Fortune Global 500 list for 2021, making China number one on the list for a second consecutive year. 

The Fortune Global 500 companies generated revenues totaling more than one-third of the world’s GDP and employ 69.7 million people worldwide. The Fortune Global 500 shrank a little over the past year. After reaching a record high of $33.3 trillion in the 2020 edition, total revenue for the world’s biggest companies fell 4.8% to $31.7 trillion this year. It was the first decline in half a decade. Seven internet-related companies are on the list this year, including Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook in the US, along with China’s, Alibaba Group, Tencent Holdings Co, and Xiaomi Group. 

Huawei has maintained its business resilience due to its focus on R&D and innovation. Every year, Huawei invests over 10% of its sales revenue into R&D. Last year, Huawei invested 15.9% of the company’s total revenue, which enables the company to maintain its leadership in new technologies such as 5G and cloud. 

According to TrendForce, a world leading market intelligence provider, Chinese and European telecommunications equipment vendors still account for more than 70% of the global market share in 2021. The top three companies are China’s Huawei (30%) and Sweden’s Ericsson (23%), and Finland’s Nokia (20%).  

Companies are ranked by total revenues for their respective fiscal years ended on or before March 31, 2021.  All companies on the list must publish financial data and report part or all of their figures to a government agency. Figures are as reported, and comparisons are with the prior year’s figures as originally reported for that year.  Each year a whole host of factors—the global economy, trade policies, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate upheaval among them—push and pull at the Fortune Global 500 rankings.