The tech giant has reached a market capitalisation that exceeds the GDPs of almost 180 countries
Yep, you read that right. On Thursday, Apple’s stock hit $207.05 per share, putting its value at one trillion dollars. This is what that looks like in numbers: $1,000,000,000,000.
Since 2017, the company has been worth more than almost every country in the world, excluding the 15 richest ones, making it the biggest public company in the world.
Since 2011 when Tim Cook replaced the late Steve Jobs as Apple’s chief executive, Apple’s share price has quadrupled. In 2006, Apple boasted sales of less than $20 billion and profits of almost $2 billion. Last year its sales reached $229 billion, with profits of $48.4 billion, making it the most profitable listed US company.
Apple hit a $1 trillion market capitalisation 42 years after its founding, and 117 years after US Steel became the first company to be valued at $1 billion in 1901.
In 1996, Apple was close to going bankrupt until Microsoft invested $150 million into it, helping it to become the mega corporation that it is today.
This is the second time a public company has been valued at $1 trillion. PetroChina, an oil and gas company, reached $1 trillion on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2007, but the valuation has been considered unreliable because only 2% of the company was released for public trading. There are other contenders for being the first trillion-dollar company, but they have yet to be valued.
Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne and Steve Wozniak in 1976. Wozniak helped build the company’s first desktop computer, the Apple I, which sold for $666.66. Now, Apple is renowned for its latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone X, which despite it being Apple’s most expensive phone, is also its best-selling device ever.
The fastest financial growth Apple has seen is down to its services Apple Music and Apple Pay, as well as wearables like the AirPods and Apple Watch.
“They extracted more revenue and more profit from the most incentivized customers in the market,” said KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Andy Hargreaves. “As for the wearables, after early stumbles and not knowing quite what to do, Apple hit its stride. They added increments of growth surrounding the iPhone.”
Despite Apple’s unprecedented success, some have expressed concern about the seemingly unending trend of multinational corporations getting richer and richer, and how it affects the average citizens around the world.
“It’s one of the most important trends that we’re experiencing,” said Roni Michaely, an economist at the University of Geneva. “It’s really about economic growth, economic inequality and consumer welfare.”
While this spells good news for Apple, it doesn’t mean anything good for everyone else.