Look at the ten largest companies 10 years ago. Who’s left?

BY ALEX POLLAK, LOFTUS PEAK

Exxon, the world’s biggest traded oil company is no longer there, neither is Toyota. Citigroup has fallen out too.

Google parent Alphabet is there at number two – it didn’t exist thirty years ago.

World's 10 Largest Companies by Market Cap (US$Billion) 21/11/2017.

World's 10 Largest Companies by Market Cap (US$Billion) 21/11/2007.

Two of the firms on the list are Chinese.

Tencent, now valued at US$517b is running neck and neck with Facebook at US$534b. Same with Alibaba - just a few percent behind Amazon, its closest competitor. Both are bigger than Walmart. Woolworths and Coles don’t rate a mention.

Disruption used to be something that happened in other countries – and to other people’s portfolios. Not any more.

All of the companies in the top ten are already active in Australia (Berkshire Hathaway isn’t, but the companies it invests in, like Coke, are). Amazon sent the Australian retailers down 15% earlier this year when its announced its local launch.

Apple effectively sucked the value out of Telstra simply by creating a product which leveraged digital disruption - providing movies on a mobile phone – something the incumbent just couldn’t begin to compete with.

What’s next?

After the entrees in retail, advertising and entertainment will come the main courses - banking transport, manufacturing and energy.

An obvious and visible example – electric cars. No more clutch assemblies, turbos, gear boxes, exhaust systems – the list is long. The mobile phone resulted in the write-off of tens of billions of manufacturing equipment used to make CD players, the tape recorder and the film camera. The electric car will do the same to the fossil fuel car makers. 

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