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The 10 Most Valuable Tech Companies in the World

John Divine

Technology's 10 largest companies, globally

There was a time, not so long ago, you could expect to find the 10 most valuable tech companies in the world all within the United States. In fact, you might find them all conveniently nestled up next to each other in a 50-square-mile area in California called Silicon Valley. But those days are gone. Over the years, the number of top 10 technology companies clustered in the San Francisco Bay area has steadily declined. Increasingly, Asia-based companies are breaking their way into the top 10; in 2019 four Eastern companies made the cut, the year before, three. Here are the world's 10 most valuable tech companies by market cap.

10. Intel Corp. (INTC): $206 billion

Semiconductor giant Intel rose to real prominence in the 1990s when its stock price soared, driven by the demand for Intel's chips that came with the personal computer revolution. Then it started making chips for smartphones and tablets, and pivoted into the data center business, when mobile started overtaking desktop. Currently, its fastest growing divisions are the Internet of Things Group (IOTG) and Mobileye, the machine vision company it purchased for $15 billion in 2017 to get a foothold in artificial intelligence. Still, Intel may not be one of the 10 most valuable tech companies in the world much longer; at its core, it's still a mature blue-chip stock that pays a dividend.

9. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSM): $214 billion

The newest name on the list, TSM took Cisco's (CSCO) spot among the top 10 tech companies in 2019, simultaneously chipping away at Silicon Valley's dominance. As for what the company does, it's all in the name; it's known as a semiconductor foundry -- a company that takes other chipmakers' designs and manufactures the technology for them. This often ends up a win-win scenario for both parties, as the machines required to produce integrated circuits, transistors, and high-quality semiconductors are large, complex, and expensive. The fact that TSM has been able to do it well and at scale since the late '80s has earned it customers like Apple (AAPL) -- and ultimately a spot on this list.

8. Samsung Electronics (SSNLF): $243 billion

Speaking of Apple, the South Korea-based Samsung Electronics has grown like wildfire over the last decade, and in the process has emerged as arguably Apple's most annoying yet venerable opponent in the mobile business. Its popular line of Galaxy smartphones and tablets has been a big hit with consumers, and the company was in a seven-year court battle with Apple over smartphone patents until 2018. The company is heavily traded on Asian and European exchanges, giving it a roughly quarter-trillion-dollar valuation. Revenue and operating profits both hit all-time highs in 2018. Ubiquitous in its industry, the company also sells TVs, laptops, security systems and appliances.

7. Tencent Holdings (TCEHY): $400 billion

Tencent has quickly emerged as an important player in Asia's technological renaissance; unfortunately, it hasn't yet debuted on a major American exchange, although it trades on an over-the-counter exchange. Technically, Tencent is a sprawling Chinese holding company, but at heart it's a tech dynamo, with thriving operations in gaming, social media, music, e-commerce and online video. WeChat, Tencent's messaging, social media and payments platform, has more than 1 billion daily active users. The company's Tencent Games division is already the world's single largest gaming company, with games like "League of Legends," "Arena of Valor" and "Fortnite," along with hundreds of other popular franchises. Revenue growth clocked in at 32% in 2018.

6. Alibaba Group Holding (BABA): $449 billion

China's largest e-commerce company is an absolute growth machine -- and compound growth goes haywire when it's 30% to 60% annually over a handful of years. Alibaba revenue soared from $8.6 billion in fiscal 2014 to $37.8 billion in fiscal 2018. Not only is BABA a significant player in China's mobile e-commerce landscape, but it's also getting more into physical retail with supermarkets and grocery delivery. It's also seeing huge growth in international retail, cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, and Ant Financial -- an Alibaba affiliate that's risen rapidly to become the most valuable fintech company in the world. BABA will likely be one of the most valuable tech companies in the world for years to come.

5. Facebook (FB): $525 billion

2018 and 2019 have brought more scrutiny than Facebook is used to, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the personal Facebook data of over 80 million American users was mishandled by shady political actors. Despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg being hauled before Congress in 2018 and the company's $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission in 2019, shares still managed to flirt with all-time highs this year. With an incredible 2.7 billion users on its suite of apps (Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram), the social media giant has built itself an incredible moat.

4. Alphabet (GOOGL, GOOG): $818 billion

Holding company Alphabet's crown gem is Google, the Mountain View, California-based search giant that's increasingly going head-to-head with Facebook in the duopolistic digital advertising market. Not only is Google the world's most dominant search engine, it's peeling away a larger chunk of marketers' traditional TV ad budgets as YouTube expands. GOOGL is plowing into other growth markets left and right, going after e-commerce with Google Shopping; the mobile economy with the Google Pixel smartphone and its dominant Android OS; smart devices with Google Home, Nest and other connected devices; and driverless cars, where it's racing forward with self-driving tech and owns stakes in Uber (UBER) and Lyft (LYFT).

3. Amazon.com (AMZN): $888 billion

Somehow, Amazon.com lived up to the hype. Far from crashing and burning like Pets.com and other casualties of the dot-com bubble, Amazon thrived, passing $100 billion in revenue in 2015. Today, it's truly "the everything store," and despite its size, keeps growing like a weed; revenue hit $230 billion in 2018, and is expected to surpass $330 billion by 2020. Amazon's growth levers are astounding. It boasts over 100 million Prime members. Amazon Web Services is the top cloud computing platform and Alexa-enabled devices now reach tens of millions of households. The acquisition of Whole Foods also gives Amazon a brick-and-mortar presence -- and real-world laboratory. It's no mystery why AMZN is one of the world's 10 most valuable tech companies.

2. Apple (AAPL): $931 billion

The businesses this high up on the list will likely be some of the biggest tech companies in the world for a long time. The closed-system philosophy of late founder Steve Jobs is arguably Apple's greatest asset; Apple makes its own hardware and software, and has amassed millions of loyal followers and a blockbuster product, the iPhone, that people line up around the block to pay $800 to $1,000 for annually. A $75 billion share buyback program, aided by tax reform, plus revenue from iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, and services like Apple Pay and iTunes, put AAPL among the technological elite.

1. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT): $1.04 trillion

Microsoft has been one of the largest, and arguably best, tech companies in the world since the 1990s. But CEO Satya Nadella, who took the reins from Steve Ballmer in 2014, has revitalized the company, quickly pivoting MSFT into the cloud, where its high-margin Azure computing platform has grown at a torrid pace. The Xbox platform continues to dominate system-based gaming, Bing remains meaningful, the acquired professional network LinkedIn is growing rapidly, and Microsoft's Surface tablet is also thriving. The decision to create a cloud-based Office 365 product has worked brilliantly, and Nadella is positioning Microsoft to be one of the leading AI companies. The only company currently valued above $1 trillion, MSFT is up three spots, rising from the fourth-largest tech company a year ago.

The 10 most valuable tech companies in the world:

1. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT): $1.04 trillion

2. Apple (AAPL): $931 billion

3. Amazon (AMZN): $888 billion

4. Alphabet (GOOGL, GOOG): $818 billion

5. Facebook (FB): $525 billion

6. Alibaba Group Holding (BABA): $449 billion

7. Tencent Holdings (TCEHY): $400 billion

8. Samsung Electronics (SSNLF): $243 billion

9. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSM): $214 billion

10. Intel Corp. (INTC): $206 billion



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