A total of 15 South Korean companies made the Fortune Global 500 list this year, which was the same as last year. Four companies saw their rankings go up from last year, while 10 companies saw theirs fall down. One company failed to make the list, while one company newly joined the list.
Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and SK Holdings were included in the top 100. Samsung Electronics ranked 15th, Hyundai Motor 78th and SK Holdings 95th. Among the Fortune Global 500, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) came in at 177th place, LG Electronics 201st, POSCO 208th, Kia Motors 209th, Hanwha Group 246th, Hyundai Heavy Industries 313rd, Hyundai Mobis 323rd, Samsung Life Insurance 413rd, Lotte Shopping 431st, Samsung C&T 447th, LG Display 479th and GS Caltex 486th.
Samsung Electronics had the highest score among South Korean companies. However, the company fell two spots from a year earlier in the list. Samsung Electronics ranked 13th for three years in a row until last year. Hyundai Motor rose six notches to 78 from 84 last year. The company moved up the list but its corporate sales stability got worse. Hyundai Motor saw its sales decrease in the domestic and global markets, leading to lower profitability.
SK Holdings made the top 100 list for the first time. The company, which took 294th place last year, moved up 199 spots to 95th. It is the highest increase made by South Korean companies that made the Fortune Global 500 list this year.
Hanwha Group went up 31 notches from the previous year largely due to performance improvement of its major subsidiaries. In particular, Hanwha Engineering & Construction saw its turnaround in performance, while the profitability of Hanwha Chemical, Hanwha Techwin and Hanwha’s solar power unit improved. Hanwha Total, Hanwha General Chemical, Hanwha Techwin and Hanwha’s defense unit, including Hanwha Thales, also showed higher business showings, which helped the group move up the list. Samsung Life Insurance moved up 26 spots from last year to 413.
Samsung C&T failed to make up the list last year but it joined the list again this year. The company’s four business divisions – construction, trading, fashion and resort – all struggled amid the difficult business environment. Korea Gas Corporation, which took 464th spot last year, was not included in the list this year.
A total of 132 U.S.-based companies made the Fortune Global 500 list, taking up the highest share. The list also included 109 Chinese companies and 51 Japanese companies, showing their strong positions. However, South Korean companies still has a weak position in the list. The number of South Korean companies in the Fortune Global 500 list hasn’t increased for a long time. Only three more companies were included in the list from 12 in 2000 to 15 this year. In contrast, the number of Chinese companies in the list increased by more than 10 times from 10 to 109 over the same period.
A total of 33 companies newly joined the Fortune Global 500 list this year, including 10 U.S companies and 10 Chinese companies. The Chinese companies are in the IT, healthcare, aerospace, online logistics sectors which are considered new growth engines. It is in stark contrast with South Korean companies which have less business dynamics and are heavily skewed towards some key industries. The government needs to promote new business that goes along the current trends.