Trend analysis of Global Fortune 500 firms: a comparative study of Chinese and Japanese firms Article (Web of Science)


  • Purpose Over the decade the trend of Global Fortune 500 firms has shown significant changes – Japanese and Chinese firms in particular. The purpose of this paper is to present trend analysis of Global Fortune 500 – Japanese and Chinese firms. Key research questions are: what are the relevant macro-level changes that have affected the growth and decline of Japanese and Chinese firms? What are the industry-level changes that have occurred in Japanese and Chinese firms in terms of firm characteristics and financial performances? What are the lessons and implications from the firms added to or removed from Global Fortune 500? Data analysis is conducted based on Fortune database from 1995 to 2013. Design/methodology/approach The study employs descriptive analysis to examine the trend of Japanese and Chinese firms listed in Global Fortune 500 including: based on revenue and profit figures from 1995 to 2013; the authors perform trend analysis for each of those five types from 1995 to 2013; the authors replicate the analyses for different industry types in terms of the above five types; the authors compare the performances of Japanese and Chinese firms; based on 2011-2013 data, the authors conduct more in-depth analysis for selected firms. Findings The findings suggest five distinct types of firms including “Sustainables,” “New Comers,” “Move Ups,” “Decliners,” and “Drop Outs”; it is interesting to note that the changes in Global Fortune 500 firms suggest how these two countries show their relative competitive advantage. Chinese firms show steady flows of new firms that join in the rank of Global Fortune 500 whereas Japanese firms suggest continuous drop of firms that move out of Global Fortune 500 firms. As China increases its size of economy, state-owned financial institutions, resource-focus firms (e.g. mining and petroleum) firms also rapidly increased its overall size. Although the number is still small, privately owned Chinese global firms (e.g. Lenovo, Huawei, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Ping An Insurance) also are now listed as Global Fortune 500 firms. In contrast, Japanese firms that lost their global market positions steadily disappeared from Global Fortune 500 firms. Representative firms include Daiei, Mitsubishi Motor Company, and NEC. Research limitations/implications One limitation of the analysis on financial indicators is that the authors select only a few firms and focus only on two time points. Nevertheless, it provides the authors information about the financial factors that characterize the two types of Global Fortune 500 firms. Moreover, it opens up new opportunities for future research. Practical implications Factors that influence the behaviors of Global Fortune 500 firms suggest both external environmental and internal managerial factors. Although serious external factors (e.g. Global Financial Crisis) affect the outcomes of these competitive positioning, it is still the managerial leadership that makes differences in cases of many Japanese firms. To Japanese firms maintaining domestic advantage is not enough to sustain their position in Global Fortune 500. Global competitiveness matters. On the other hand, it is unclear whether changes occurring in Chinese firms are more managerial than externally dictated. In case of many Chinese financial firms and resource rich firms, the huge domestic advantage has much to do with their position in Global Fortune 500. Originality/value This is the first trend analysis that examines the Global Fortune 500 firms from Japan and China. The authors identify five types of firms that would be an important basis for the further benchmarking studies of Global Fortune 500 firms in other counties (e.g. the USA, Germany, Korea, and other Emerging Economies – Russia, India, Brazil).


publication date

  • 2017

published in

number of pages

  • 11

start page

  • 50

end page

  • 61


  • 24


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