China now has five of the world’s 10 biggest companies

THREE Chinese behemoths top this year’s list of the world’s biggest public firms, while no European companies remain in the top ten, a dramatic signal of a changing world economy.

The top spots are taken by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Agricultural Bank of China and China Construction Bank. The country is home to half of the world’s 10 largest listed businesses based on revenues, assets, profit and market value, according to Forbes.

HSBC and Shell were the last two European institutions in the top ten last year – both have now been pushed to lower levels. The US and China now command the entire top ten, with JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway taking fourth and fifth place respectively. ExxonMobil, General Electric, Wells Fargo, Bank of China and PetroChina rounded off the list.

As recently as 2010, there were four European companies in the top ten, including two from the UK – while only ICBC made the grade for China.

Despite the country’s relative slowdown in recent years, it is still growing much more quickly than the advanced economies, creating the climbing demand for firms to expand rapidly.

The Forbes Global 2000, which has been running for 11 years, shows that financial institutions make up nearly a quarter of the biggest firms.