For the first time, Chinese companies, including those in Taiwan province, have overtaken their US counterparts on the Fortune Global 500 list for 2022 in terms of total revenue.
For the fourth consecutive year, China topped the annual list in terms of the number of companies. The United States and Japan followed with 124 and 47 enterprises, respectively.
Unveiled on Wednesday, the global list for 2022 showed 145 Chinese companies contributed 31 percent of the total revenue of the world's 500 largest corporations. And the 124 US companies in the list accounted for 30 percent.
"Aggregate sales for the Fortune Global 500 hit $37.8 trillion, an increase of 19 percent-the highest annual growth rate in the list's history," Fortune said on its website.
Observers said the latest list confirms China's rising prowess in sectors like manufacturing and infrastructure.
But more efforts are needed to improve the Chinese companies' overall profitability, they said.
Walmart, the largest retailer in the US, topped the Global 500 list with a revenue of $572.75 billion.
China's State Grid, China National Petroleum Corp and Sinopec Group made the top 10, ranking third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Last year, they ranked second, fourth and fifth, respectively.
"China's top performance again proves its important role in global manufacturing and its remarkable industrial resilience amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as China led in the number of companies including those in metal, construction and coal mining," said Wang Peng, a researcher from the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences.
This year, 19 metal product companies, 12 construction engineering firms and six coal mining enterprises from China made it to the list, while the US has only one metal product company.
In terms of improvement in rankings, China's Ansteel Group Corp made the highest jump across 183 places to 217.
The gap between Chinese companies' average profit level and that of the other Fortune 500 companies, however, has widened this year. The average profit of the 145 Chinese companies in the list is $4.1 billion, lower than the global average of $6.2 billion and 2.5 times lower than that of US firms.
"More efforts are needed to improve the overall profitability of China's leading companies," Wang said. "As China called for more efforts in developing 'new infrastructure' and dual circulation, Chinese companies are expected to embrace greater opportunities.
"If traditional manufacturing companies can make good use of the industrial internet and other technology-driven factors to develop their businesses, their profits are very likely to exceed that of foreign peers in the coming years."