China Gains on U.S. as Home for Top Companies

The United States' claim as home to the world's largest companies is slipping, and China is picking up some of that slack.

The United States still dominates as the home base for 659 of the world's 2,000 largest companies, according to an annual survey by Forbes magazine called the Global 2000.

While that total is far more than that of any other country, it's 34 fewer than last year, based on data compiled by the New York-based magazine.

Hong Kong and China have a combined 89 companies on the list -- earning them the fourth place, after Japan, with 291, and the United Kingdom with 126. (Forbes also counts Hong Kong and China as separate countries, giving them the eight and ninth spots on the list respectively.)

China has 16 more companies on the Forbes list than it had just one year ago.

While the trend is shifting away from the United States, American-based companies still dominate: 31 of the top 100 companies are based on U.S. soil. China and Hong Kong only have six of the top 100.

The U.S. companies included on this year's list have a combined market capitalization of $13.9 trillion. Firms based in China and Hong Kong have just over $2 trillion in market cap.

The list, which will be in a special issue that hits newsstands Friday, ranks the 2,000 largest publicly traded companies in the world based on sales, profit, assets and stock market value.

The banking industry is at the top of the rankings with Citigroup, Bank of America, HSBC Holdings and JPMorgan Chase holding four of the top five spots.

The largest nonbanking company is conglomerate General Electric, at No. 4 on the list.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Insurer American International Group, known as AIG, oil companies ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, financial firm UBS and insurance company ING Group.

The banking sector leads the list with 304 of the 2,000 spots. Those companies are also the leaders in profits, Forbes said. But the 116 companies that deal with oil and gas had more revenues than any other sector last year.

And finally, an interesting fact: Forbes found that the total revenues of the companies headquartered in Switzerland exceed that nation's gross domestic product.