It is a sign of India’s waning economic might that its representation in Forbes’ annual Global 2000 ranking of the world’s largest and most powerful companies has been diminishing over the last three years. The 2014 list features 54 Indian companies, compared to 56 last year and 61 in 2012.
Corporate India’s performance reflects the stasis of the last few years. All the top companies have slid from their last year’s positions. Reliance Industries (RIL) remains the highest-ranked Indian company on the list but the oil and petroleum giant is now ranked 135, down from 121 last year; RIL has a market value of $50.9 billion and sales of $72.8 billion as of May 2014.
Contrast this with China, which is gaining ground on all parameters. It is now home to the three biggest companies in the world. State-controlled Chinese bank ICBC holds on to its No. 1 spot for a second consecutive year while China Construction Bank is at No. 2 and Agricultural Bank of China moves up to third place. They are joined in the top 10 by Bank of China at No.9. PetroChina at No. 10 adds up to five Chinese companies in the top 10 of the Global 2000, while US companies account for the other half.
Public sector companies continue to dominate the list. For instance, 29 of the Indian companies featured are government-owned while the balance 25 is privately-owned. Consider that RIL is followed by State Bank of India, ranked 155 and with a market value of $23.6 billion dollars, and ONGC (176) with sales of $29.6 billion.
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(This story appears in the 13 June, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)