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How do you know if a company has become a great Business Empire? No one has a definite answer to this question. Maybe we should look at the leaders by market capitalization? Then the top 10 would be Apple, Microsoft, Saudi Aramco, Alphabet, Amazon, Tesla, Meta Platforms, Berkshire Hathaway, Tencent, Visa.


The brainchild of Jeff Bezos, with a market capitalization of $1460 billion, ranks fifth among the expensive holdings. However, 2022 is not yet the best year in the history of Amazon: in 2019 the corporation became the most expensive company on the planet, overtaking its long-term competitor, Microsoft.

The history of the company began in 1994 - its founder set out to create the largest online store on the planet, where you can buy everything in the world. And he succeeded: "Amazon" today - a great retail empire, where you can buy goods, products and products for every taste and color. Its highlight was opening up the chance for users to become independent sellers on the global Amazon platform - this is the first of the famous marketplaces.

Today Amazon is singled out for its low prices, excellent quality products, fast delivery and a striking range of products. Bezos and the corporation employ 1 million people. The giant has annual sales of up to $400 billion and an estimated $360 billion in assets.


It seems only a short time ago that Apple was known as a humble firm that made personal computers. But in 2022, Apple is not just a brand or a quality mark, but a true cult! And much credit is due to its controversial, but undeniably talented founder Steve Jobs.

And it all started ... with a joke! The corporation was registered on Laughter Day, April 1, 1976. And the prank, as they say, was a success: today Apple is included in numerous ratings as "the most valuable company on the planet". Just think about these facts:

  • Every minute Apple earns $300,000. 

  • The amount in the corporation's bank accounts at times exceeds the reserves of the United States Treasury. 

  • Already in March 2014, the brand solemnly sold 500,000,000 new iPhones.

"Stay insatiable," apparently Steve Jobs' followers are in all seriousness following their founder's wish.


Where should the history of Microsoft begin? Perhaps with the fact that Bill Gates proved himself to be a talented programmer back in school, making such a schedule of lessons that he was lucky enough to be in class with the maximum number of girls in each class? One way or another, it was this resourceful kid who created the planet's most popular multinational corporation known to millions of users of the Windows operating system.

Gates started his business in 1975 - it took him just 40 years to turn a small company with a starting capital of $16 000 and three employees into a worldwide giant employing 90 000 people. Today, Microsoft is the largest supplier not only of advanced software, but also of computing electronics and smartphones.

Theoretically, any of us can become a member of Microsoft's huge team. It is not for nothing that it opens summer camps for high school students... However, in practice, the selection is more than tough, and the interview is so non-standard that it is difficult to prepare for it in advance. The numbers speak for themselves: there are 1,300,000 applicants for one job at Bill Gates!

Meta Platforms

"The "progenitor" of Meta is Facebook, the most famous social network developed by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. Today, its traffic reaches 2 billion people a day. The market value of Meta Platforms Inc in 2022 exceeds $839 billion, and the number of "clones" of the American social network every year is increasing.

If initially "Facebook" was created as a place in a virtual space where people could communicate and talk about their lives in the feed, today it is a powerful advertising machine, which annually gives $ 22 billion in profits only at the expense of targeting. In 2021 alone, the social network increased its net profits by 54% - and it doesn't plan to stop there.

Meta Platforms is not just Facebook. The "family" includes the mobile social network "Instagram" and the messenger "Votsap". Although they are not original developments of Mark Zuckerberg (they were purchased by him from his founders), these Internet products are harmoniously integrated into the overall concept.


Everyone thinks of Musk as the "daddy" of Tesla, but the firm was founded by completely different people. It was founded in 2003 by business partners Mark Turpenning and Martin Eberhard, and Elon became Tesla's chairman and lead investor in 2004. But it is thanks to the billionaire extraordinaire that the manufacturer achieved worldwide fame and impressive economic performance (2022):

  • market capitalization, $850 billion; 

  • value: $36.5 billion.

Today it is the largest electric car manufacturer on Earth, a supplier of solar batteries and batteries. In 2020, Tesla, along with 27 U.S. firms, established ZETA - Zero Emission Transport Association. It is an association with global plans to convert all U.S. vehicles to electric motors. At this point they have already developed several worthy models of electric cars - roadsters, crossovers, sedans, and a powerful truck tractor for trucks.


Today the corporation occupies the honorable fourth place among the expensive companies: its market capitalization - $ 1770 billion. Also "Alphabet" is one of the most noticeable public companies: its shares in 2022 are traded at an average price of $ 2580 per piece. Google, which belongs to the holding company, is the largest search engine on the Internet. "Google is the fourth most expensive brand in the world, behind only Apple ($404 billion), Amazon ($249 billion) and Microsoft ($210 billion). The search engine is valued at $197 billion.

The history of high-tech business began in 1993, when yesterday's students Sergey Brin and Larry Page launched a search engine capable of handling billions of searches every day. Such power of the project allowed the guys to make their product one of the most profitable advertising aggregators in the virtual space - it is the sale of advertising that brings Alphabet the main revenue. In addition, Alphabet produces Software (Android OS) for smartphones and other smart gadgets, manages such Internet services as YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google AdWords.

Berkshire Hathaway

The irreplaceable owner of the corporation is the "oracle of Omaha," the famous American investor and entrepreneur Warren Buffett. Largely due to his talent, Berkshire Hathaway is capitalized at $687 billion in 2022, and the stock is considered super-expensive: you have to pay $461,200 for one security.

This is due to the fact that Buffett, an experienced investor, has never had a procedure for splitting his firm's stock - that is, increasing the number of securities at the same time as decreasing their value. Technically speaking, this is what it looks like: shares of holding N were originally traded at $1,000 apiece, and after the split, each security became worth $500. If investor X bought one share for $1,000 before the procedure, he automatically became the owner of two shares of $500 each.

Berkshire Hathaway's success story is a succession of competent acquisitions:

Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Gas and Electric Supply; Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group, Insurance; Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group, Insurance and Reinsurance; BNSF, Railroad Transportation; GEICO, Motor Vehicle Insurance; General Re, Reinsurance Services; McLane Company, Wholesale.

Berkshire Hathaway's shareholder meeting back in 2015 exceeded 40,000 people, giving journalists reason to call the annual event "Woodstock for capitalists."


When Richard was graduating from high school in 1967, the director of the institution ushered him into adulthood with the words that have become prophetic: "Congratulations, Branson! You're either going to jail or you're going to be a millionaire. Fate willed the second: today this man, who has not read a single book (due to dyslexia) has become a billionaire - but not just any book, but one of the epathetic and famous.

It all started with an absurd idea for a man with his disease: Richard had the idea of publishing his own magazine. Then there was a music store, a recording studio, balloon flights, a book publishing house, an international airline, honeymoon outfits, online cosmetics, comics, vodka, contraception... Today even Branson does not know exactly how many companies are part of his multiholding Virgin! However, all together they bring annual revenues of over $24 billion.

Branson did not choose the name "Virgin Clean" for nothing: he always starts from a clean slate, with no experience whatsoever. His staff is chaotic: they despise the chain of command, drink beer in the workplace, and deify creativity. And Richard is busy conquering new heights - he set out to develop space tourism.


In the list of successful business empires the financial services provider Visa, with a capitalization of $480 billion (2022), occupies a worthy place. An international corporation, it traces its history back to 1958: it specializes in bank transfers and payment transactions between credit and financial institutions.

Today Visa Inc. - is the second payment system by volume (cards issued + transactions). Its cards can be used to pay freely in 200 countries of the world. "Visa" is an innovative project throughout its history: so, today the vast majority of transactions are processed through VisaNet (electronic payment system).

Guarantee the popularity of the payment system is its reliability - remittances are processed in four independent centers, which are scattered around the world: Singapore, Virginia, Britain and Colorado. These institutions are protected from both the actions of criminals and the effects of natural disasters by the whole complex of security levels.


"The family entertainment empire" is what they say about Disney today. And 100 years ago it was just a small animation studio in a garage. It owes a lot to its founder, Walt Disney, who began drawing cartoon comics at the age of seven. Disney began in 1923 with cartoons about Alice and Wonderland. In 1928 the animation company introduced the legendary Mickey Mouse, who was voiced by Walt.

That Disney owns a record number (29) "Oscars": for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Dumbo," "Beauty and the Beast," "Bambi". But the fabulous entrepreneur did not stop at cartoons: he opened the first Disney theme park for his daughters and millions of little fans of Disney cartoons. Already in the 1960s, Disneyland was so profitable that Walt and his heirs instantly became billionaires.

Today, Walt Disney Productions is second in scale only to Time Warner. It is a giant media holding company that owns several movie companies, recording studios, newspapers, magazines, a television network and 535 company stores. Disney's own baseball and hockey teams play for it, and the huge enterprise has an annual turnover of more than $21 billion.


Once upon a time, Conrad Hilton, the son of a grocer, dreamed of becoming a banker, but... the stars weren't on his side. Why not try his luck in the hotel business? So in 1925, the 31-year-old entrepreneur opened the Dallas Hilton, which he set out to make the best hotel in all of Texas. This begins the story of the Hilton hotel empire, which was destined to survive the Great Depression, bankruptcy, sale, and subsequent redemption back into Conrad's hands.

But luck was still on the side of the grocer's son: by the early 1960s he had 80 luxury hotels in the U.S. and abroad. Conrad was not only a successful businessman - he did a lot for the hotel business in general: he introduced a star rating system for comfort hotels, proposed to combine casinos and hotels, was the first to open hotel rooms near airports. Hilton has always put customers first: discounts for regular guests, advanced reservation system, information and reference service. Today Hilton is a chain of 3,800 hotels of different classes, which are open in 88 countries.


In 2022, the Tencent conglomerate reported a market capitalization of $561 billion. Today it is difficult to name a single industry that this corporation specializes in:

  • A venture capital organization; 

  • an investment holding company; 

  • a major producer of computer and video games; 

  • a conglomerate that owns social media, media, instant messaging applications, and various Web portals.

Today the multinational investment holding company is rightfully ranked 9th in the top 10 most expensive corporations.

The Chinese holding company Tencent has been making history since 1998: it gave the PRC its own version of Facebook and Watsap, adapted many Japanese games for computers and smartphones, masterfully circumventing copyright violations. Every year Tensent grows with new social networks, "toys" for smartphones, multiplayer online games, which get the status of the most successful. Other areas of development include a payment system, e-commerce, and a music streaming service.


How did the history of McDonald's begin? Here the opinions of admirers of the delicious brand are divided. Some say that the annals should be written in 1948, when the McDonald brothers, Dick and Mac, opened the first self-service fast food restaurant. But would their unusual little business have made it outside California if it hadn't been for 52-year-old Ray Kroc, a former cocktail mixer salesman?

Even though he was already at an advanced age for a startup and desperately teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, Crock mortgaged his own house and bought the restaurant license from the McDonald's. Ray founded his own company in 1955, and by 1965 he had 700 Mcdonald's all over the United States. The first foreign "McDonald's" entrepreneur opened in 1967 in Canada - and since then the familiar letter "M" began to march across the planet.

Today Mcdonald's is 35,000 restaurants around the world, where 70 million people eat out every day. The brand had to go through a series of scandals and litigation - what is only one movie "Double Portion"! But despite all that, the brand does not leave the list of favorite brands.


Zara, Oysho, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Pull and Bear, Stradivarius... What do these names tell you? All of these are brands owned by the Japanese giant Inditex. Its head is Amancio Ortega, Europe's richest man. The man once had only a small home atelier and a dream to open his own store, which he called Zara. The undertaking was so successful that a few years later new stores had to be opened every month!

So by 1985 the Inditex holding company was formed. In order to attract a larger audience, Ortega began to expand his business formats: in addition to Zara, he created and bought new brands, each with its own philosophy, style and fans - Bershka, Stradivarius, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Beer. It is thanks to this diversity of brands and the ingenious ability to react instantly to changes in demand that Inditex has long become a global fashion empire with a prohibitive growth rate. Five continents and 5,000 stores - and the holding clearly has no plans to stop there!


Guerlain, Givenchy, Hennesy, Bulgari, Marc Jacobs, Benefit, Don Perignon - iconic luxury brands belong to the French concern LVMH. Its owners are the Bernard Arnault dynasty, and the holding is the world's largest manufacturer of luxury goods. In addition, it operates an auction house, art publications, financial media, hotels and a personal radio station.

The history of LVMH begins in 1987, when the group appeared as a result of the merger of two strong players in the luxury segment - Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy (hence the familiar acronym). A string of mergers and acquisitions followed. In 1999, the giant almost had Gucci at its disposal. But even without Gucci, the corporation's annual turnover exceeded 20 billion euro: clothing and wine, perfumes and watches, leather goods and cosmetics, alcoholic beverages and shoes - it seems all the necessary things for a luxurious life are here!

"Luxury is our passion," says LVMH. Perfectionism in every detail is appreciated here and the main value is considered to be the real talents, which are daily searched and developed. The holding is also well-known all over the world for its charity activities: social projects, sponsorship of medical organizations, support of culture, preservation and restoration of cultural heritage.


"Nike is not just an American manufacturer of sportswear and footwear that was able to overtake European competitors Puma and Adidas in a short period of time. It's also an incredible success story -- how to build a business out of a dream. About what he had to do to make sneakers with the trademark "tick" could be bought in every part of the world, the founder of Nike Phil Knight told in his own book "The Shoe Salesman".

As the entrepreneur admits, the global brand began with $50 borrowed from his father. Then there was the sale of Japanese sneakers from his own van, a waitress who drew the logo for $ 30, an aircraft engineer from NASA, who invented the famous Air Max and waffle iron, which gave us an innovative embossed sole. Anyway, today a pair of Nikes will be in the closet of a schoolboy, the owner of a big company, the director of a state institution and even the president.

Just Read It! "Nike in 2022 is one of the super-recognized brands, and its creator is one of the richest people in the world. The brand's average annual turnover has already exceeded $30 billion, but is that the limit? "At the age of 24, I really came to the conclusion that the world was made by crazy ideas" (Phil Knight).


The most expensive media company on the planet, valued at $125 billion, Netflix, the streaming platform, will also be on our list. It once started out as a tiny home movie delivery service in a branded red envelope. And today it is not just an online platform where you can find a movie or TV series for every taste or download the mobile application, but also its own film production. Thus, every year Netflix releases 100-150 new film projects, which is much more than the traditional network and cable channels.

A book, which became a bestseller, was written about the formation of the successful startup, "Netflix. The Insider's Story of the Corporation that Conquered the World," an honest Investigation by Reuters independent journalist Gina Keating. Thus, Reed Hastings, co-founder of the project, still remembers his first $40 fee for the movie "Apollo 13" in 1997. Even back then, this firm knew how to differentiate itself from the competition: people could rent movie discs for as long as they wanted, without fear of overstaying. So why not give them the same opportunity on the Internet?


A firm that is hard to imagine apart from its founder, Michael Dell. Already at the age of 12, he earned his first $2,000 by persuading his neighbors to buy a subscription to a magazine. Very young kid realized the beauty of direct sales: an observant boy learned the names of newlyweds and housewives in the neighborhood, sent them beautiful greeting cards with an interesting inset - an invitation to a free 14-day subscription.

This very method, invented in a distant childhood, became a calling card of the huge business empire Dell, today known as a global manufacturer and supplier of computers, software and servers. Needless to say, Michael founded the Dell giant as a 19-year-old kid with only $1,000 in his pocket?

The young firm was the first in its high-tech industry to move away from cooperation with middlemen and decisively eliminated warehouses from its business processes. At Dell, computers are assembled only on customer's order and then sent immediately to their homes. The corporation can offer bonuses that make them stand out from competitors: affordable prices, 24/7 service support, and an ocean of gifts and discounts.

Needless to say, Dell is the first computer firm to start selling its equipment over the Internet. No wonder that for its reverent attitude to customers and the right course for innovation, the corporation topped Fortune's "Firms that cause admiration.


The L'Oreal empire is much more than the L'Oreal cosmetics women are familiar with:

  • 65,000 employees; 

  • 500 cosmetics brands; 

  • 74 in-house factories; 

  • 25 cosmetology firms; 

  • 5 R&D centers.

It all started with an innovative, but very simple idea: once, in the early twentieth century, the young chemist Eugene Schuller thought of offering women a permanent synthetic dye for hair coloring instead of the tired henna and basma. His wife was the first to try the novelty and the invention was appreciated by her hairdressers. Then investors pulled up and the hair dye was launched into mass production. The novelty was called L'Aureale, the name of fashionable at the time hairstyle orioles.

Already in the 1930s L'Aureale began to market soaps, shampoos, perfumes and sunscreen cosmetics. After Schuller's death, management of the cosmetics empire in 1957 passed to his daughter Lillian Bettancourt, who began to actively expand the family beauty business - a woman not just bought Lancome, Garnier, Biotherm, Maybelline, Body Shop and Vichy, but managed to keep the original philosophy of each of the purchased brands.

L'Oreal is also known for its extensive advertising activities - 30% of its total revenue is allocated for PR, which is already a record. The catchphrase, "I deserve it", has already been heard by the brand's customers and followers from world-famous divas such as Catherine Deneuve, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston, Mila Jovovich, Kate Moss, Beyonce, Natalia Vodianova, Leticia Casta.


For decades on end, people thought of cabs as a "primitive business" that wouldn't make much money. And which Innovation would certainly bypass. But that was even before the birth of Uber, whose creator, Travis Kalanick, knew for sure: There are exceptions to every rule. And whoever finds them first will make a real technological revolution in the familiar.

This is what happened with Uber, whose success story is very colorfully described in the book "UBER. An Insider's History of World Domination" by Adam Lashinski. The story of the aggregator is the story of Kalanick's ambition, which is not embarrassed by the scandals from which his cab empire seems hardly to get out. "Uber is hated by cab drivers in many countries, and states are shutting the corporation out of their markets because of "ruthless exploitation of chauffeurs," but it continues to grow and remain a favorite for millions of customers.

The history of Uber is also noteworthy because it managed to introduce a new concept of "uberization" - the introduction of computer technology into the dialogue, the communication between customers and service providers in various sectors of high-tech business. The term turned out to be so successful that such global giants as Airbnb and Alibaba Group use it in the 2020s.

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