Recently, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) surpassed Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) as the ‘largest company in the world’, as the media has told us. Not to mention Apple has more money than the US Treasury and is more valuable than Poland and many other countries. However, this is only in terms of market cap, does market cap tell everything?
Apple only took in $108 billion in revenue in the year ending on December 31, 2011. Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) each took home annual revenue of $467 billion and $421 billion respectively. Furthermore, Walmart and Exxon both have much lower margins, their revenue is nearly triple the size of Apple’s. Apple’s high margins will not last forever, but that is not the focus of this article. Walmart is also the largest employer in the country after the US military. The Walton family is also one of the richest.
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Now if you are the largest company in the world, wouldn’t you have the revenue to back up your argument? Exxon and Walmart crush Apple in revenue and income, does market cap trump revenue and net income? People talk about Apple’s share price. If Exxon or Walmart wanted to, they could do a reverse split today, and have a share price above Apple’s.
In the world of business, prices and market caps are for show while revenue and earnings are the most important. By these standards, Apple is not the largest company in the world. Exxon reigned as the largest company for many years until Apple surpassed it last year but gave up the title quickly. Then 2012 came and Apple has been on a rally since the beginning of the year. The company released record earnings and soon surpassed Exxon in market cap. Walmart is a retail business as well yet they also dwarf Apple in revenue.
Apple has great products with a strong following; making it easy for anything they release to be a hit. Apple needs to get into China if they want to increase revenue to likes of Walmart and Exxon who are already doing business with China. These days China is the key to growth. It is a largely untapped market for some great American companies, yet it holds opportunities to get your earnings to the next level. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been reportedly in talks with business leaders and government leaders in China to discuss how Apple would be able to sell its products in China.
So far it is unclear how much progress has been made but we do know that Apple has a partnership with Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR)(NASDAQ:BIDU)?, whose search engine can now be an option as your primary search tool. There was also some speculation last year that Apple would sign a partnership with China Mobile Ltd. (ADR)(NYSE:CH:)? to get its iPhone in the country through one of the top mobile carriers in China.
At the end of the day, Apple may have the largest market cap but there are much larger companies if you look at revenue. I do not consider Apple the largest company in the world yet but possibly after they get more growth from China, the tides could change.
(revenue numbers revised)