Do you want to be a millionaire or even a billionaire? One of the ways you can make a mind-blowing amount of money is to start a tech company and do everything you can to make it successful. Although there are so many tech companies in the world, if you have a good product and you know how to sell it, you will soon be on the cover of Forbes Magazine, telling your story of how you became wealthy.
The great people behind the leading tech companies in the world are without a doubt the richest people on the planet because almost half of the top ten billionaires in the world have made their billions from technology.
Most of the founders of these great companies are self-made billionaires, meaning most of them have personal rags to riches stories because regardless of how much money they had before, it's peanuts compared to what they have now.
Furthermore, the wealth of some of these tech company founders is so much that some sources claim that it can be as much as, or even more than, the GDPs of some small countries.
One of the reasons why tech companies make so much money is the number of clients they have because a very huge percentage of the world's population uses technology every day. If you were to glance at the number of people who use these companies' products you'd realize just how big they are. For instance, a company such as Facebook has well over two billion active users, meaning that a quarter of the world's population is active on Facebook. Here are 19 of the most valuable tech companies in the world.
Amazon, which was formed in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, is the largest Internet retailer in the world. Based in Washington, US, Amazon started out as an online bookstore but later introduced other products. Today you can buy almost anything at Amazon from electronics, clothing, furniture, food, software, music and so much more.
With over 200,000 employees, Amazon is the second largest employer in the United States with over 100 million prime subscribers of which most are more than half of the households in America. It has separate retail online websites for buyers outside the United States customized to their native languages. Last year alone, Amazon reported sales of US$177 billion.
Samsung Electronics, which was founded in 1969 in Suwon, South Korea, was mainly a producer of electronic appliances. Apart from being the largest consumer electronics and chip maker, Samsung is today the largest producer of smartphones and tablets and it’s the biggest competitor of tech giant Apple.
Its smartphones which pack similar features compared to iPhones are relatively cheaper and are thus more popular in other countries around the world. Samsung is also currently the largest manufacturer of memory chips ahead of companies like Intel. In 2017, Samsung sales hit US$220 billion, making it one of the most profitable companies in the world.
Apple Inc. is without a doubt one of the largest tech companies in the world. It was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne and has over 100,000 employees. Apple, which has its headquarters in California in the United States, specializes in developing and selling electronics more specifically the iPhone smartphone, iPad tablet, the Mac personal computers, iPod portable music player, and Apple smartwatches.
It is also the producer of macOS and iOS operating systems that are used in its own computers and phones and software like iTunes, iLife, and iWork. Last year Apple reported a whopping US$229 billion in revenue.
Internet giant Google restructured in 2015 and formed Alphabet Inc. that deals in technology, investments, research, and life science. Google is still in operation but as a subsidiary of Alphabet headed by CEO Sundar Pichai. The purpose of the restructure was to separate Google, the Internet Service Provider, from its sister companies and let it operate alone for accountability purposes.
The other subsidiaries operate under Alphabet, which is headed by one of its founders, Larry Page. Sergey Brin also a founder of Google currently acts as the president of the companies. The conglomerate of companies that include video streaming website YouTube is estimated to be making over US$110 billion in sales annually.
Microsoft Corporation is another American company that remains dominant in the tech world. It was founded in 1975 by current tech billionaires Paul Allen and Bill Gates. Based in Washington DC, it is known for developing, manufacturing, and selling computer software and computers. Microsoft is also the producer of the Microsoft Windows Operating System, Microsoft Office Suites, and web browsers Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge.
The office software suites and operating systems compatible with IBM computers are currently more popular in the market than any brand, even after having lost most of its operating system clients to Android. Its revenue is currently about US$89 billion, which was brought about by venturing more into cloud computing rather than hardware production.
14 Intel Corporation
Intel Corporation is an American multinational tech company that was founded in 1968 by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore. It's the second largest producer of semiconductor chips after Samsung and it's one of the main suppliers of computer processors to well-known companies like Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. It is also the producer of the x86 microprocessor found in most personal computers.
Intel has fought hard against companies like Advanced Micro Devices and Microsoft to remain the top microprocessor designer, especially from the 1990s when the computer market began growing rapidly. Intel is currently making US$62 billion from its sale of chips, processors, integrated circuits, and flash memory.
Founded in 1911, International Business Machines Corporation is another big computer hardware and software manufacturer that also provides hosting and consulting services. IBM is also known for inventions such as the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), personal computers, floppy disks, hard disks, magnetic stripe cards, SQL programming language, the Universal Product Code, the dynamic random access memory, and the mainframe computer System/360.
IBM has continued to see profitable sales of up to US$79 billion even after giving up the sale of personal computers and printers and acquiring companies like PwC Consulting, the software company SPSS and weather forecasting and IT company, The Weather Company.
12 Alibaba Group Holding
Chinese company Alibaba Group Holding, which began its operations in 1999, is also a large Internet retailer competing with the likes of Amazon, Wal-Mart, and eBay. Alibaba provides online shopping services, electronic payment services, and cloud computing.
It operates in over 200 countries all over the world and has so far made US$39 billion from sales since the beginning of the year. Alibaba also owns other companies including a football club and an Internet company. Alibaba is estimated to be worth US$510 billion, making it the second highest ranking Asian company after Tencent Holdings to surpass the US$500 billion mark.
Co-founders of the Oracle Corporation Larry Ellison, Ed Oates, and Bob Miner started the company in 1977 under the name Software Development Laboratories. Oracle Corporation acquired its name in 1986 after its initial public offer and had 138,000 employees as at 2017.
The tech company is involved in development and sale of database management systems and enterprise software specifically enterprise resource management, customer relationship management and supply chain management software. This company is considered the second largest software developer after Microsoft. As of the end of last year, Oracle made a profit of US$9 billion after making sales worth US$37 billion.
10 Tencent Holdings
Based in Shenzhen, China, Tencent Holdings Limited, which is currently valued at US$580 billion is involved in many industries providing a variety of services including; web browsing, social networking, artificial intelligence, film production, online games, payment services, music services, e-commerce, and mobile services.
Among its mobile services is social media multi-messaging app similar to WhatsApp called WeChat that has over one billion active users and instant messenger app Tencent QQ. It also owns most of China’s music services with over 120 million paying subscribers. Tencent Holdings also controls other subsidiaries in the various industries it operates and other areas like space technology, food delivery, agriculture, medical services, and so many others.
9 Cisco Systems
Cisco is based in California in the United States and it's the largest networking company in the world. It was formed in 1984 by two Stanford University scientists Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner who were also part of the pioneers of the Local Area Networking (LAN) that involves interconnecting a number of computers within a certain area so that they can share resources.
Cisco is responsible for developing the infrastructure that enables us to access the Internet like routers, Ethernet, and other tech gadgets used in telecommunication. Cisco is currently operating at a net income of US$11 billion with sales of up to US$48 billion.
Qualcomm is an American company that specializes in wireless technology and the development of telecommunications products and services. This company is behind technology breakthroughs like mobile phone processors, server processors, Bluetooth products, cellular modems, Wi-Fi products and radio frequency receivers and many other solutions.
Qualcomm also handles patent licensing but under a division referred to as Qualcomm Technology Licensing (QTL). QTL is responsible for a good chunk of their profit. The tech company is currently making US$22 billion annually from the sale of their products and services. Qualcomm is currently working on developing 5G Internet and artificial intelligence that will improve the lives of people everywhere.
Privately owned company Uber is mainly known for offering transportation services through its website or mobile phone app and relies, solely on both for work and collection of fees. It has revolutionized the transport industry by creating a technology and service that is convenient for people but at the same time low on costs.
With Uber, you can hire a car in just a matter of minutes and at pocket-friendly prices as well. It is slowly replacing the traditional taxi cabs that are known for charging exorbitant prices. It's also safer as most drivers and cars are vetted before they can register to offer the service. In 2017, Uber hit US$7.5 billion in revenue and US$4.5 billion in profit.
Dell, which began operating in 1984 in Texas, is known for developing and marketing computers and other related products and services. It also sells items manufactured by other companies through its efficient supply chain management system and built to order way of operating.
By 2006 Dell’s PC market share was 13.9% behind HP that had 17.4%. For the longest time Dell was mainly involved in hardware sales but in 2009 it acquired an information tech company by the name Perot System and began offering enterprise solutions. Dell has over 300,000 employees and it's currently making annual sales of US$80 billion.
Hon Hai Precision Company, trading as Foxconn Technology Group, is based in Taiwan and is the largest electronic contract manufacturing company in the world, meaning it produces electric component and products for other companies. Foxconn has a large client base spread all over the world and is estimated to produce about 40% of the world’s electronics.
Some of its major clients include Apple, Nokia, Blackberry, Nintendo, Microsoft who sell Xboxes, and Sony who develop play stations. With over a million workers Taiwan manages to make sales of up to US$130 billion per year and a net income of close to US$5 billion.
American IT Company Hewlett Packard (HP) was started in a car garage by William Redington Hewlett and David Packard in 1939. It specializes in producing both hardware and software components of a computer. By 2007, HP had grown so much it became the leading manufacturer of Personal Computer in the world.
Later on, it began developing computing devices such as servers, data storage devices, networking products, printers, and scanners. HP makes about US$103 billion in annual revenue and has over 280,000 employees. In 2015, HP split its Personal Computers and Printer business to form two new companies HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
3 Western Digital
Computer data storage company Western Digital was established in 1970 by Alvin Philips, an employee of Motorola; a multinational telecommunications company. It is based in the United States in California and is one of the largest producers of computer hard disk drives in the world with over US$19 billion in annual sales.
Its main competitor is Seagate Technology which is incorporated in Ireland and makes US$10 billion in sales annually. Western Digital started out small making integrated circuits then moved to produce semiconductors with capital provided by individual investors and industry players like Emerson Electric. Today Western Digital focuses on developing both internal and external storage as well as network attached and surveillance storage for individuals and companies.
Adobe was formed in 1982 by John Warnock and Charles Geschke. It is popularly known for its imaging editing software Photoshop, application software Acrobat Reader, file format Portable Document Format (PDF), Adobe Creative Suite software as well as Adobe Creative Cloud and many other applications that are used all over the world with people who have access to computers.
Adobe is estimated to be worth about US$14 billion and makes on average US$7 billion in annual sales. Adobe has about 15,000 employees working for Adobe worldwide with only 40% of them based in San Jose, California where the headquarters are.
Sony Corporation was founded in 1946 and it is based in Tokyo, Japan. Sony is the mother company to Sony Group, which is involved in various fields including electronics, motion pictures, music, and financial services. Altogether Sony Corporation consists of an affiliate group of companies that operate under the names Sony Pictures, Sony Mobile, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Music, and Sony Financial Holdings.
Its music entertainment business is the largest in the world and its television business competes with known giants like Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, TCL, and Hisense. Sony has about 128,000 employees and makes up to US$59 billion annually on sales.