On 6th September 2018, the Warton Economic Institute (WEI) held a press conference to release the 2018 China Business Top 100 (CBT100) Company List in Shanghai. The annual List has been published by the WEI for 18 consecutive years ever since 2001.
The Big Four state-owned commercial banks in China – Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Bank (CCB), Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), and Bank of China (BoC) – continue to top the CBT100 Company List. ICBC ranks the first with a total profit of around RMB364.64bn. Ping An Bank (PAB), China Merchants Bank (CMB), China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (CPCC), Bank of Communications (BCM), China Shenhua Energy (CSE), and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPDB) are placed in the 5th-10th of the CBT100 Company List, respectively.
The 2018 CBT100 Company List are noteworthy in the following six perspectives:
1. Companies on the CBT100 List are fundamental to the growth of China’s national economy
The 500 companies on the CBT100 List registered a total profit of RMB3992.53bn in 2017, increasing 15.60 per cent year-on-year (cf. RMB3,453.77bn in 2016). The growth rate was the highest out of the last three years. The total profits created by the 500 companies accounted for nearly 90 per cent of total profits of all listed companies in the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange (RMB4,495.68bn in 2017), and 5 per cent of China’s national GDP (RMB82,712bn in 2017). In terms of revenue, the 500 companies collected a total revenue of RMB29,298.27bn in 2017, which constituted approximately 35.42 per cent of China’s national GDP, the percentage of which increased by a moderate 2.87 percentage points compared with that of the previous year (32.55 per cent).
2. The threshold of the CBT100 List largely increases, and more companies have entered the multi-billion yuan club
This is indeed the first time that all 500 companies on the CBT100 List have a profit of over RMB1bn. Beijing Capital Tourism Co., Ltd., the 500th ranked companies, realised a total profit of RMB1.001bn in 2017. The threshold of the CBT100 List increased significantly by 33.58 per cent compared with that of last year (RMB0.75bn). Meanwhile, out of the 500 companies on the List this year, 5 companies created a profit of over RMB100bn (cf. 1 company on the 2017 List), 17 companies created a profit of over RMB50bn (cf. 3 companies on the 2017 List), and 62 companies (cf. 12 companies on the 2017 List) created a profit of over RMB10bn.
3. Structure of the CBT100 List becomes more balanced, with companies ranked the 101st-500th constituting a larger share
The total profits of companies that are ranked the 1st-100th on the 2018 CBT100 List is RMB3,150.43bn, which is 78.81 per cent of the total profits of all 500 companies. The number drops to below 80 per cent for the first time, and it decreases by 3.11 per cent and 7.34 per cent, respectively, compared with figures in the 2017 (82.02 per cent) and 2015 (86.25 per cent) Lists. In contrast, the total profit shares of companies that are ranked the 101st-200th, 201st-300th, 301st-400th, and 401st-500th rise to 9.34 per cent, 5.28 per cent, 3.67 per cent, and 2.80 per cent, respectively. All the four figures increase compared with those in the 2015 and 2017 Lists, suggesting that companies ranked the 101st-500th are becoming increasingly more influential.
4. Regional distribution: Beijing remains the centre, and the number of Inner Mongolia-based companies increases
Out of the 500 companies on the 2018 CBT100 List, 360 companies are located in Eastern China (decreasing by 8 companies compared with the 2017 List), 74 companies are located in Central China (increasing by 2 compared with the 2017 List), and 66 companies are located in Western China (increasing by 6 compared with the 2017 List). Province-wise, Beijing accommodates the highest number of companies (77), which is followed by Guangdong (71) and Shanghai (52). Four new companies registered in Inner Mongolia make the CBT100 List for the first time, and the increase is the highest among all provinces. In contrast, 5 Guangdong-based companies fail to make the List, and its decrease has been the highest in all provinces for the past two years (9 companies in Guangdong dropped out of the 2017 List).
5. Industrial structure: Five key industries occupy half of the CBT100 List and competition remains fierce
The 500 companies belong to 28 different industries. The financial industry (57 companies), real estate industry (52 companies), transportation industry (40 companies), chemical engineering industry (35 companies), and medical & biological industry (34 companies) have the highest number of companies, which constitute nearly half of the 2018 CBT100 List. 103 companies that failed to make the 2017 List successfully make the 2018 CBT100 List, and the rotation rate has been over 20 per cent for two years in a row. New companies that make the list are mainly distributed in the chemical engineering industry (15 companies), steel industry (12 companies), non-ferrous metal industry (10 companies), real estate industry (9 companies), and excavation industry (6 companies). In comparison, companies that are replaced by others in the 2018 CBT100 List mainly belong to the medical & biological industry (11 companies), financial industry (9 companies), public affairs industry (8 companies), media industry (7 companies), and real estate industry (7 companies).
6. Increasing investment on R&D
The aggregate R&D investment of all 500 companies reached RMB318.05bn in 2017, which was 1.29 times that of 2016 (RMB246.41bn), and 56.21 per cent of all listed companies in Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange. In particular, 7 companies on the 2018 CBT100 List invested more than RMB10bn in R&D, increasing by 4 compared with the 2017 List. These companies are China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (CPCC, RMB18.60bn), ZTE Corporation (RMB12.96bn), China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC, RMB12.39bn), China Railway Group Limited (CREC, RMB12.02bn), SAIC Motor Corporation (RMB11.06bn), CRRC Corporation Limited (RMB10.49bn) and China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC, RMB10.40bn). CPCC continues top the List in terms of R&D investment.
The 18th China Business Top 100 (CBT100) Forum is to be held in Beijing in November 2018, along with the 4th CBT100 City Forum. The Forum this year will feature the theme of “New Opportunities, New Strategies, and New Prospects”, with a focus on strategies of internationalisation, capital manipulation and industry integration for firms, as well as on strategies of urban agglomeration synergy, urban re-design and urban-rural co-operation for cities. The Forums aim to promote and coordinate the development of top companies and top cities in China, which is ultimately expected to increase domestic demand, to enhance China’s national economy, and to mitigate external risks and challenges.
The CBT100 Company List is based on total profit of companies in 2017.