Apple – the world’s first three-trillion-dollar company

By Kate Birch
Consumer technology giant Apple, makers of the all-conquering Mac computers and iPhone smartphone, will become the world’s first US$3 trillion company

There have been many moments for Apple in 2021, but the sweetest may be just around the corner this Christmas. With CEO Tim Cook celebrating a decade at the helm of the consumer technology giant formed 45 years ago, the share price needs to hit US$182.85 for Apple to hit that magical milestone. It came close in recent days before dropping slightly, but with sales booming and the share price already rising by 35% in 2021, it’s only a matter of time. 

This will make Apple the first publicly traded company to hit such a bewildering valuation, but it’s unlikely to be the last, with a handful of US-based tech giants leading the chase. In fact, there are few companies from outside North America that make the Top 10 globally when it comes to market capitalisation (at time of writing, 14/12/2021).

Top 10 Companies In The World by Market Cap

 

  1. Apple                        US$2.84 T      USA
  2. Microsoft                  US$2.45 T      USA
  3. Alphabet                   US$1.90 T      USA
  4. Saudi Aramco           US$1.86 T      Saudi Arabia
  5. Amazon                     US$1.69 T      USA
  6. Tesla                          US$938 B      USA
  7. Meta                          US$924 B       USA
  8. Nvidia                        US$691 B       USA
  9. Berkshire Hathaway US$660 B      USA
  10. TSMC                         US$600 B     Taiwan

As the data shows, US companies make up 8 of the top 10 companies by market cap. Just to put those eye-watering figures into context, Coca-Cola comes 40th in the list with a mere US$249bn valuation. Morgan Stanley ranks 69th at US$176bn. You almost feel sorry for them.

At the end of October, when Apple announced its fiscal Q4 results, revenue hit a record US$83.4 billion, up a staggering 29% year on year. So what was behind that meteoric rise?

The pandemic certainly brought many people closer to their personal devices, as we came to rely on our smartphones and laptops for everything from work to staying in touch with family, from monitoring health and fitness with wearables, to bingeing on the latest streaming TV shows (like Apple’s very own Emmy-winning Ted Lasso). All in all, the perfect storm for Apple. 

That said, how much better could 2021 have been? In October, the company said it would be cutting production targets for its flagship iPhone 13 due to chip shortages – reducing Q4 production from 90 million units to ‘just’ 80 million. 

Unsurprisingly, CEO Cook put Apple’s success down to a cunning recipe of superior products and sustainable values.

“This year we launched our most powerful products ever, from M1-powered Macs to an iPhone 13 lineup that is setting a new standard for performance and empowering our customers to create and connect in new ways,” said Cook when announcing the coffer-filling Q4 fiscals. 

“We are infusing our values into everything we make – moving closer to our 2030 goal of being carbon neutral up and down our supply chain and across the lifecycle of our products, and ever advancing our mission to build a more equitable future.”

Values, all three trillion of them, make Apple top of the corporate tree. Or as Ted Lasso might put it, “As the man once said, the harder you work, the luckier you get.”

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