GLOBAL COMPANY: Definition and the Top Global Companies in 2023

what is global company, top global company, global company list
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A global company, also known as a global corporation, is a company that operates in at least one country outside of its country of origin. While few companies do business with every single country globally, expanding to just one additional country is considered a significant achievement. In this post, we will discuss what a global company is, what they need to be one, its characteristics and what role they have. Also, we will share tips on how to grow into a global company and list the top companies.

What Is a Global Company?

A global company is a company that operates facilities (such as factories and distribution centers) in many countries around the world. It differs from an international business, which sells products worldwide but only has facilities in its home country. 

Global companies operate in multiple countries and conduct extensive research before expanding their businesses. They must comply with local laws and regulations and create job opportunities while capitalizing on seasonal demand fluctuations, and customize products to local tastes and cultures. However, they may face technological challenges which come with expanding to another country and introducing the company and its products to locals.

What Makes a Company to Be Considered a Global Company

These may include:

  • Market presence: The extent to which a company has globalized its market presence and customer base.
  • Supply base: The degree to which a company sources from different locations and has located key parts of the supply chain in optimal locations worldwide.
  • Capital base: The degree to which a company has globalized its financial structure, including listing shares on international exchanges. Also, attracting operating capital from different sources and managing taxes and profits globally.
  • Corporate mindset: A company’s ability to deal with diverse cultures and operate globally, with international management and ideas coming from all over the globe.

Characteristics of a Global Company

Characteristics of a global company include:

  • Global strategic thinking: A global company thinks strategically about managing a business using the best people worldwide. Generally, it requires a global perspective and understanding of the business world’s global workings.
  • Operating in multiple countries: A global company with significant investments in more than one country. It is subject to local laws and lacks a powerful headquarters.
  • Cultural sensitivity: A global company is culturally aware and considers the cultural practices and regional values of its countries. It understands and respects cultural differences when choosing managers, defining employee wages and benefits, and developing marketing strategies.
  • Sophisticated technology: A global company utilizes capital-intensive technology, especially in its production and marketing activities, to achieve substantial growth in multiple countries. With this technology, the company creates economies of scale and competes globally.
  • Adaptability and flexibility: A global company is versatile and adaptive to different markets and environments. It can customize its products or services according to local preferences and cultural differences, enabling it to appeal to residents in specific localities. This adaptability helps the company succeed in diverse markets.
  • Strong headquarters: While a global company invests in multiple foreign locations, it maintains a strong headquarters in one country. The headquarters is generally located in the company’s home country and serve as a central hub for decision-making and coordination of global operations.

What Are the Four Types of Global Companies?

The four types of global companies are:

Global Centralized Corporation

This type of multinational business has a central or head office in the home country, coordinating and managing other branches and assets. These companies may outsource production to developing economies. This is to lower costs and optimize affordable resources. The main advantage of having affiliates and subsidiaries in target markets is the reduction of distribution costs and increased accessibility to potential consumers and their information.

Multinational Enterprise (MNE)

A multinational enterprise is one in which organizational units are located in foreign countries. These units provide goods and services for the geographic areas surrounding the countries where operations exist. Key management positions in foreign operations are filled with employees from the corporation’s home country. As the MNE expands, it hires workers from the countries where it operates. HR practices for employees sent from corporate headquarters must be developed so that they and their dependents may continue their economic lifestyles while stationed outside the home country.  

Global Organization

A global organization has corporate units in some countries integrated into one organization worldwide. In contrast to an MNE, which operates in various countries but has separate foreign business units, a global organization integrates its operations across countries. For example, Ford Motor Co. shifted from having separate autonomous units on each continent to operating as a global firm. Ford merged design facilities and people worldwide, with designers, engineers, and production specialists working in teams to develop cars. HR management in global organizations moves people worldwide, especially key managers and professionals. Global HR policies and activities are developed, but decentralizing decision-making to subsidiary units and operations in other countries is necessary for country-specific adjustments.

International Business

This term refers to any business that operates across international borders. It includes selling goods and services between countries and other forms of international business. They might include producing components or products overseas and selling them domestically. Also, they might outsource services to locations with cheaper labor costs. International businesses make decisions based on cost, sustainability, and supporting local economies. However, they also face language and cultural barriers, currency exchange rates, and foreign politics and policies. Examples of international businesses include Apple, which designs, develops and sells electronics and software worldwide, and McDonald’s, which has restaurants in over 120 countries. 

Top Global Company List

Here is a list of the top global companies:

  • JPMorgan: JPMorgan is currently ranked as the world’s largest company in terms of assets. It is an American multinational investment bank and financial services company. 
  • Apple: Apple is a technology giant known for its consumer electronics, software, and online services. It consistently ranks among the top companies in terms of market value.
  • Alphabet: Alphabet is the parent company of Google. It is a multinational conglomerate that specializes in Internet-related services and products.
  • ICBC: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is one of the three giant-sized state-owned Chinese banks. It is the world’s largest bank by total assets and market capitalization.
  • Exxon Mobil: Exxon Mobil Corporation is one of the largest international oil and gas companies with a chemical division producing plastic and rubber products.
  • Microsoft: Microsoft is a multinational technology company known for its software products and services. It is one of the world’s largest companies in terms of market value.
  • Amazon: Amazon is a multinational technology company and one of the largest online retailers in the world. It is significant in various industries, including e-commerce, cloud computing, and digital streaming.
  • Shell: Shell Oil Company is a major oil company and a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC. It is one of the largest oil companies in the world. It has a presence in 99 countries.
  • Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola sells its beverages in more than 200 countries and has a wide range of products tailored to fit the tastes and culture of each local community.
  • Hilton and Hyatt Hotels: These hospitality companies have a global presence, with hotels and resorts in many countries worldwide.
  • Facebook and Google: These global companies have a virtual rather than a physical presence. They have users in almost every country with an internet connection.

How Do You Become a Global Company?

To become a global company, there are several steps you can take:

  • Establish a mission statement that conveys your expansiveness from the beginning. This will establish a globalization culture within your company and impact your marketing and how the world perceives you.
  • Recruit employees with international experience, especially for senior and management positions. A diverse team with internationalization and localization experience can bring valuable expertise to your company.
  • Protect your intellectual property (IP) by registering trademarks and domain names in the top countries and regions you expect to expand to.
  • Identify the countries with the highest demand for your products or services. Prioritize your efforts by focusing on the markets with the greatest potential for success.
  • Decide on the method of expanding internationally. You can open your own office overseas, work with distributors or channel partners, or even consider acquisitions of local players.
  • Create an international business plan to evaluate your needs and set your goals. This will help you assess your readiness and commitment to grow internationally before you begin.
  • Conduct thorough market research to identify international markets and understand their dynamics.
  • Determine the most effective distribution methods for your product abroad. You can choose from options such as opening company-owned foreign subsidiaries, working with agents or distributors, or setting up joint ventures.
  • Familiarize yourself with the cultural, social, legal, and economic differences of the countries you plan to enter and tailor your sales and marketing efforts to each.
  • Secure financing for your international expansion. Explore government and private sources of funding to support your global growth. Additionally, consider ways to mitigate the risks associated with international transactions and ensure that you receive timely payments.

What Is the Role of a Global Company?

The role of a global company can vary, but generally, it involves the following:

  • International expansion: A global company seeks to expand its operations beyond its home country and establish a presence in multiple countries worldwide. Expansion allows the company to tap into new markets, reach a larger customer base, and increase its revenue potential.
  • Global talent management: As a global company operates in multiple countries, it must effectively manage its global workforce. Which might involve making decisions about hiring employees in different countries, such as whether to hire domestically or locally and ensuring smooth employee governance across different locations.
  • Localization and adaptation: Global companies often tailor their products, services, and marketing strategies to fit their countries’ local cultures and preferences. This localization approach helps them better connect with customers and increase their chances of success in each market.
  • Supply chain optimization: Global companies often have complex supply chains span multiple countries. They strategically source materials and components from different locations and optimize their supply chain to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
  • Global market presence: A key characteristic of a global company is its global market presence and customer base. It aims to establish itself in multiple countries and expand its market reach to serve customers worldwide.

What Is the Difference Between an International Company and a Global Company?

An international company conducts business between two or more countries, primarily focusing on its home country and importing and exporting products without foreign direct investment. It has no official headquarters outside its home country, and its offices exist only in that country. Also, international companies derive their business strategies from the local domestic market and cannot have subsidiaries in other countries. On the other hand, a global company has a presence in multiple countries and operates consistently across all countries. The offerings and processes of a global company remain consistent in each country, while they do not adapt to local norms or cultures.

Furthermore, global companies have a centralized office responsible for global strategy and marketing their products using the same coordinated image/brand in all markets. The emphasis for global companies is on volume, cost management, and efficiency. Examples of international companies include Rolls Royce and Adidas.

Why Are Global Companies Better?

Global companies offer several advantages over local businesses, including access to diverse revenue streams, resources, supplies, and a larger talent pool. These companies can tap into new sources of revenue, offset fluctuations in local markets, improve profit margins, gain a competitive advantage, and access a global talent pool.

Also, expanding internationally presents growth opportunities, cost-savings for imports and manufacturing, and access to high-quality talent from around the world.


A global company is a strategy for international expansion, focusing on managing its global workforce, cultural adaptation, and presence in multiple countries. This success is due to their ability to adapt to local culture and preferences, creating new products or tweaking existing ones to appeal to specific localities. A global company operates facilities in multiple countries, distinguishing it from international businesses that sell products worldwide but have facilities only in their home country.


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