India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani has reiterated on many occasions — “Data is the new Oil”. A scrutiny of some new and historic information reveals that the statement is indeed true, and our world is increasingly being dominated by technology and tech-related companies. Ten years ago, in 2007, the list of the top 10 companies in the world by market capitalisation was largely dominated by Oil and Gas companies, with five of the 10 companies from energy sector. However, now in 2017, there’s only one Oil and Gas company on the list — the energy major ExxonMobil — and that too in the last spot! The top 10 is now dominated by seven technology companies, with four of them occupying the top slots.
Apple Inc tops the chart with a market capitalisation of $749 billion as on 30th June 2017. It is followed by Alphabet Inc, the parent of Google, with a market cap of $628 billion. Third on the list is another tech giant Microsoft Inc with a market cap of $ 528 billion. On the fourth slot is the global e-commerce and cloud services major Amazon Inc with a market cap of $466 billion.
Chinese e-commerce major, and arguably Amazon’s biggest rival in the region, Alibaba.com is comfortably placed in the seventh spot with a market cap of $356 billion, followed by the social media major Facebook, Inc in the eighth place with a similar $356 billion in value. Another Chinese major — the technology investment behemoth Tencent, which also has a stake in India’s Flipkart, is in the ninth spot with it valued at $314 billion.
This analysis underscores a very important point – Out of 10 biggest companies 7 are directly into technology, while there’s only one energy major at the 10th spot. The other three biggies in the list include investment icon Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway at number 5 with a market cap of $419 billion and Johnson & Johnson at number 6 (market cap $357 billion).
The chart below shows the comparison between the list of the top 10 companies by market cap in 2007 and 2017:
In stark contrast, December 2007 list had 5 Oil and Gas conglomerates, with PetroChina topping the chart with a staggering $723 billion market capitalisation. The other 4 oil majors then on the list included ExxonMobil, ranked 2 with market cap of $511 billion, followed by the Russian Oil heavyweight Gazprom with $329 billion in market cap. Royal Dutch Shell — a British–Dutch multinational — was at number 8 with $270 billion market cap; while Sinopec, a Chinese player was at the 10th place with a market cap of $250 billion. Interestingly, at that time, only one tech major was on the list: Microsoft, with a market cap of $333 billion! Clearly, there has been a shift away from Oil and Gas to Data!
In March this year, a report by PwC which ranks Global Top 100 Companies by market capitalisation found that Technology is the largest sector in terms of market cap ($3,582 billion), closely followed by Financial Services sector ($3,532 billion), and Consumer Goods ($2,660 billion). Oil and Gas was at a distant 7th position with an aggregate market capitalisation of $876 billion.
Mukesh Ambani recently observed at an industry event, “Data is the oxygen of a new digital economy. We cannot deprive Indians of this vital life-sustaining resource.We have the urgent task of empowering 1.3 billion Indians with the tools needed to flourish in the digital marketplace.”