China adds 15 companies to the Fortune Global 500

I'm in Asia this week, representing the UST MBA at The MBA Tour Roundtable workshops, events that enable MBA admissions representatives to meet with small groups of 6 to 10 prospective students.  Unlike a typical "trade show" style MBA fair, where students go from table to table to pick up brochures, the roundtable format enables students to have in-depth discussions with each participating school.  This benefits both the school and the student, as school representatives can fully explain program offerings, while students have the opportunity to ask questions and find out which schools might be a good fit for their interests.

At my first stop in Shanghai on Friday, I took a look at the Shanghai Daily newspaper left at my hotel room door in the morning.  The front page headline announced, "Chinese companies set Fortune 500 list record."  China now accounts for 69 of the top 500 global companies by revenue, second only to the US with 133 and just ahead of Japan, which has 68.  The article notes that the US set a record with 197 companies in the top 500 in 2002, but that the number of American companies has dropped each year since then.

It comes as no surprise to anyone who follows business news that China continues to add companies to the Fortune Global 500 list.  China has been one of the world's fastest-growing economies for the past 20 years, and the sheer size of the country (with a population approximately 4 times the size of the US population) means that much more growth can be expected in coming years.  At dinner on Friday night, one of my colleagues who has worked in MBA admissions for many years commented, "The changes in China since my first recruiting trip here 15 years ago are astonishing."

The Fortune Global 500 definitely has a more international feel than it did a decade ago, but the Twin Cities is still well-represented on the list.  Seven companies based in the Twin Cities--United Health Group, Target, Best Buy, Supervalu, 3M, CHS, and US Bancorp--rank among the world's 500 largest companies by revenue.  Three other companies that are not headquartered in the Twin Cities but have a significant corporate presence locally also made the list:  Wells Fargo, Delta, and Travelers.

With the globalization of modern business, home is never far away.  When I needed an adapter plug for my laptop during my first trip to Shanghai a couple of years ago, where did I go?  To Best Buy, of course--the Best Buy located at Super Brand Mall in Shanghai.