July 30, 2008,08:55 +0900(JST) Fortune Global 500
“Global 500,” an annual list of the world’s largest corporations prepared by Fortune Magazine, has been published this year as usual. Companies on the globe are ranked in order of revenue (for fiscal 2007). Although the ranking does not reflect overall corporate strength, it is worthy of attention. By inclusion on the list, a company can be recognized as having a certain scale. More importantly, changes in the rankings from the previous year tell us how the companies have grown over the last year. This is why the Global 500 list attracts wide attention every year.
On this year’s list, Sumitomo Electric was ranked No. 383, slightly down from its previous rank, unfortunately. The Company had moved up to No. 344 on last year’s list, from No. 366 the year before that. Given the Company’s generally favorable business performance for fiscal 2007, I had secretly hoped for a higher rank this year, so I am somewhat disappointed with the result.
Let me make a quick analysis. Since revenue figures are converted to U.S. dollars, foreign exchange rates seem to have a considerable impact on the rankings, as it often happens. Despite the dollar’s weakening globally, the value of the yen has not increased against dollar as much as other currencies. As a result, U.S. and Japanese corporations suffered declines in their rankings, on the whole. Admittedly, some uncertainties did exist over the economies of both countries.
By country, the U.S. and Japan ranked first and second, respectively, in the number of corporations on the Global 500 list, a clear lead over third place. However, when I look to the remarkable growth of corporations based in the euro bloc, China and other emerging economies, I ponder how I should steer the Company to future growth amid the rapid spread of globalization. I feel like sighing about the business environment surrounding us, which has become severer every year.
While Sumitomo Electric has increased its revenues by more than 9% in terms of the U.S. dollar, other world enterprises generally recorded two-digit growth. Some of them, such a Bank in India, enjoyed a growth rate of over 40%.
Unfortunately, some well-established Japanese corporations have fallen off the Global 500 list. Japanese companies, including Sumitomo Electric, should make further efforts, hopefully to display the latent power of Japanese industry.
Among the Global 500 corporations, companies whose revenues were more than tenfold that of Sumitomo Electric are the top five big businesses: Wal-Mart Stores (No. 1), Exxon Mobil (No. 2), Royal Dutch Shell (No. 3), BP (No. 4) and Toyota Motor (No. 5). (General Motors ranked fifth on last year’s list, and fell to ninth place this year.)
These comprise a group of the ‘best of the best’ corporations, which we can look up to as a lofty goal.
As I wrote on this blog last year, increasing the size of operation is one of the most important goals to pursue for sound development of the Sumitomo Electric Group, to achieve our goal of becoming a “Glorious Excellent Company.”
We are determined to continue our management efforts from a global perspective, so that we will remain on, and move up on, the Fortune Global 500 list in the future.