MADISON, Wis. -- Among this year's Fortune Magazine's just-announced Global 500, there are a few surprises, prominent among which is Apple's huge ascent from 55th place (in the 2012 ranking) to now 19th place on the new list.
The high-tech industry as a whole, despite the performance of Apple, Samsung, and Hon Hai (known as Foxconn), took a back seat to automotive companies and oil producers.
The Fortune Global 500, measured by revenue, is a broad-brush picture of wealth and health among global public companies, providing a convenient tool to identify who's trending up and who's slipping downward. Companies are ranked by total revenues for the fiscal year that ended on or before March 31, 2013.
Typically, oil companies dominate the top 20 year in and year out. And nobody's surprised at the retail giant Walmart holding firm among the top 5.
Auto companies in top 30
The auto industry also has a strong showing in the elite list, including Toyota, Volkswagen, General Motors, Daimler, and Ford all showing up in the top 30.
The 2013 top 20 shows Toyota moving up to 8th ($265.7 billion) from 10th position last year ($235.4 billion). Volkswagen went from 12th ($221.6 billion) to 9th ($247.6 billion).
Meanwhile, GM, which made the top 20 list last year in the 19th position ($150.3 billion), made a little more money ($152.3 billion) but moved down to 24th. Both Daimler ($146.9 billion) and Ford ($134.3 billion) slipped this year but hung among the top 30.
Apple, the world's second most profitable company
The biggest surprise in this year's Fortune Global 500, however, is Apple. An Apple rival, Samsung, is also doing well, increasing revenue from $148.9 billion in 2012 to $178.6 billion in 2013, moving its rank from No. 20 to No. 14.
Apple's good fortune continues to spill over to Hon Hai Precision Industry, which had its revenue increase to $132.1 billion in 2013 from the previous year's $117.5 billion, jumping from the 43th spot to the 30th spot.
Perhaps more significantly, Apple recorded the second biggest profit among all the top 50 companies in the world (after Exxon Mobil), at a whopping $41.7 million. In contrast, Samsung made less than half of Apple's profit, at $20.6 million.