Global Private Sector Outlook
The private sector is the part of the economy that is run by individuals and companies for profit and is not state-controlled. The top 10 largest private companies in the world are contributing to the growth of the private sector as regulations change and continue to ease all over the world, allowing for economic prosperity. In a free market, capitalist-based society, the private sector tends to make up a larger share of the economy. The private sector has a goal of making money and employs more workers than the public sector. There are many types of private sector businesses, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, small and mid-sized businesses, large corporations and multinationals, professional and trade associations, and trade unions. In free enterprise countries, such as the United States of America, the private sector is wider, and the state places fewer constraints on firms. In countries with more government authority, such as China, the public sector makes up most of the economy. 90 percent of jobs in developing countries are in the private sector.
The largest privately-owned company in the world by revenue in 2020 is Vitol; followed by Trafigura and Huawei. This is BizVibe’s article on the top 10 largest private companies in the world ranked by revenue in 2020. The article will also dive into the biggest private companies in the world, outside of the top 10. This article will provide insight into the global private sector, including:
- What are the largest private companies in the world by revenue?
- What is the largest private company in the world?
- What is a private company?
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Top 10 Largest Private Companies in the World by Revenue 2020
What is a private company? A private company is a firm held under private ownership. Private companies may issue stock and have shareholders, but their shares do not trade on public exchanges and are not issued through an initial public offering (IPO). This is BizVibe’s list of the top 10 largest private companies in the world by revenue in 2020.
Revenue (USD billions)
|5||Schwarz Group||114||Neckarsulm, Germany||1930|
|6||Koch Industries||110||Kansas, USA||1940|
|7||HNA Group||88.5||Haikou, China||2000|
|10||Suning Holdings Group||86||Nanjing, China||1990|
What is the largest private company in the world? Vitol ranks number 1 on our list of the top 10 largest private companies in the world in 2020 by revenue, generated USD 231 billion. Vitol is a Dutch energy and commodity trading company that was founded in Rotterdam in 1966 by Henk Viëtor and Jacques Detiger. Vitol is defined by their refining, shipping, terminals, exploration and production, power generation, and retail businesses. Additionally, Vitol is also involved in physical trading, logistics, and distribution. Vitol has 40 offices worldwide and its largest operations are in Geneva, Houston, London, and Singapore. Vitol is a leader in the energy sector with a presence across the spectrum; from oil through to power, renewables, and carbon. It trades 8 million barrels per day of crude oil and products and, at any time, has 250 ships transporting its cargoes. Vitol’s clients include national oil companies, multinationals, leading industrial companies, and utilities. Vitol’s specialties are in Energy and commodities company, shipping & chartering, logistics & distribution, terminals & storage, exploration & production, power generation, and mining & retail businesses.
- Founded: 1966
- Vitol Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
- Vitol Revenue: USD 231 billion
- Vitol Number of Employees: 1365
Vitol’s Key Services and Activities
- Trading: The company trades coal, natural gas, power, ethanol, methanol, gasoline, LNG, LPG, naphtha, bitumen, base oils, and carbon emissions.
- Terminals and infrastructure: Vitol has around 16 million cubic meters of storage capacity across the globe.
- Exploration and production
- Energy trading & Commodity trading
Ranking number 2 on our list of the top 10 largest privately held companies in the world by revenue is Trafigura. Trafigura is a Singaporean-domiciled multinational commodity trading company founded in 1993 that trades in base metals and energy. Trafigura was founded in 1993 and is currently headquartered in Singapore, with registered offices in Geneva, Switzerland. Trafigura is involved in pipelines, mines, smelters, ports, and storage terminals businesses. Trafigura operates 65 offices in 36 countries. Trafigura is involved in paper trading through its subsidiary Galena Asset Management, which was set up in 2003 to invest in commodity funds. Trafigura is owned by over 700 of its 8,000 employees who work in 80 offices in 41 countries around the world. Last year Trafigfura generated USD 180.7 billion — making it the 2nd largest privately held company in the world in 2020 by revenue.
- Founded: 1993
- Trafigura Headquarters: Singapore
- Trafigura Revenue: USD 180.7 billion
- Trafigura Number of Employees: 4,316
- Oil and Petroleum Products trading, Metals and Minerals Trading, Shipping and Chartering, and commodity trading
Ranking 3rd on this list of the top 10 largest private companies in the world is Huawei. Huawei is a Chinese multinational technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong. Huawei designs develops, and sells telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics (mainly smartphones). Huawei was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a former Deputy Regimental Chief in the People’s Liberation Army. Huawei has deployed its products and services in more than 170 countries. In July 2020, Huawei surpassed Samsung and Apple to become the leading smartphone mobile brand in the world for the first time primarily due to a drop in Samsung’s global sales in the second quarter of 2020 owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Huawei specialties are in Information and Communications Technology ICT, Enterprise Solutions, Consumer Devices, and Carrier Network. Last year Huawei generated USD 122.97 billion in revenues — making it one of the biggest private companies in the world by revenue in 2020.
- Founded: 1993
- Huawei Headquarters: Singapore
- Huawei Revenue: USD 180.7 billion
- Huawei Number of Employees: 4,316
Huawei Products and Services
- Mobile and fixed broadband networks, consultancy, and managed services, multimedia technology, smartphones, tablet computers, dongles, Smart TV, Harmony OS, EMUI
Ranking 4th on this list of the largest privately held companies in the world is Cargill. Cargill is an American privately held global food corporation based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware. Cargill’s major businesses are trading, purchasing, and distributing grain and other agricultural commodities, such as palm oil; trading in energy, steel, and transport; the raising of livestock and production of feed; and producing food ingredients such as starch and glucose syrup, vegetable oils and fats for application in processed foods and industrial use. Founded in 1865, Cargill currently employs 166,000 people. Cargill is privately owned by the Cargill family. Last year Cargill generated USD 114.7 billion in revenues — making it one of the largest private companies in the world.
- Founded: 1865
- Cargill Headquarters: Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA
- Cargill Revenue: USD 114.7 billion
- Cargill Number of Employees: 166,000
Cargill Products and Specialties
- Agricultural services, crop, and livestock, food, health and pharmaceutical, industrial & financial risk management, raw materials.
- Food ingredients, agricultural, risk management, and commodity trading and processing.
The Schwarz Group ranks 5th on our list of the top 10 largest private companies in the world in 2020 by revenue. The Schwarz Group is a family-owned multinational retail group that operates grocery shops under the Lidl and Kaufland brands. The Schwarz Group is Europes largest retailer. The Schwarz Group operates supermarkets in most European countries and is currently expanding in the United States. Serving the US and Europe, The Schwarz Group currently employs over 429,000 people. Last year The Schwarz Group generated USD 114 billion in revenues — making it one of the biggest private companies in the world.
- Founded: 1930
- Schwarz Group Headquarters: Neckarsulm, Germany
- Schwarz Group Revenue: USD 114.7 billion
- Schwarz Group Number of Employees: 429,000
Koch Industries ranks 6th on this list of the largest privately owned companies in the world. Koch Industries is an American multinational corporation based in Wichita, Kansas. Koch Industries and its subsidiaries are involved in the manufacturing, refining, and distribution of petroleum, chemicals, energy, fiber, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper, chemical technology equipment, ranching, finance, commodities trading, and investing. Kock Industries specialties are in Information Technology, Accounting, Finance & Tax, Operations & Manufacturing, Commercial & Marketing, Refining, Chemicals, Biofuels, Forest and Consumer Products, Polymers and Fibers, Technology, Electronics, Commodity Training, Energy, Glass, Ranching, and Investments. Last year Kock Industries generated USD 110 billion — making it one of the top private companies in the world by revenue.
- Founded: 1940
- Koch Industries Headquarters: Wichita, Kansas, USA
- Koch Industries Revenue: USD 110 billion
- Koch Industries Number of Employees: 130,000
Koch Industries Products and Services
- Asphalt, chemicals, commodities trading, energy, fibers, fertilizers, finance, minerals, natural gas, plastics, petroleum, pulp, and paper, ranching
7. HNA Group
HNA Group ranks 7th on this list of the top 10 largest private companies in the world in 2020 by revenue. HNA Group is a Chinese conglomerate headquartered in Haikou, Hainan, China. HNA Group has evolved from a regional airline based on Hainan Island in southern China into an aviation group with operations across the globe. It holds a stake in 14 airlines, manages 16 airports, and retains a fleet of nearly 900 aircraft. HNA’s airlines operate around 2000 routes, reaching over 200 cities across the globe, transporting over 120 million passengers yearly. HNA Group specialties are in Aviation, Capital, Real estate, Tourism, Hospitality, Logistics, Retail, Ecological Technology, and Finance. Founded in 1993, HNA Group is owned 70% by Hainan Traffic Administration Holding and 30% by Jianyun Investments. Last year HNA Group generated USD 88.5 billion — making it one of the biggest private companies in the world.
- Founded: 2000
- HNA Group Headquarters: Haikou, China
- HNA Group Revenue: USD 88.5 billion
- HNA Group Number of Employees: 10,001+
Aldi ranks 8th on this list of the largest privately held companies in the world. Aldi is a brand of two German family-owned discount supermarket chains with over 10,000 stores in 20 countries. Aldi’s German operations consist of Aldi Nord’s 35 individual regional companies with about 2,500 stores in western, northern, and eastern Germany, and Aldi Süd’s 32 regional companies with 1,600 stores in western and southern Germany. In international markets, Aldi Nord operates in Denmark, France, the Benelux countries, Portugal, Spain, and Poland, while Aldi Süd operates in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Switzerland, Australia, China, Italy, Austria, and Slovenia. Both Aldi Nord (as Trader Joe’s) and Aldi Süd (as Aldi) also operate in the United States with 1,600 stores between them as of 2017. Further, the U.S. is the only country to have both Aldi companies operating outside of Germany. Last year Aldi generated USD
- Founded: 1946
- Aldi Headquarters: Essen, Germany
- Aldi Revenue: USD 88 billion
- Aldi Number of Employees: 11,235
Robert Bosch GmbH ranks 9th on this list of the top 10 largest private companies in the world in 2020. Robert Bosch GmbH is a German multinational engineering and technology company headquartered in Gerlingen, near Stuttgart, Germany. Robert Bosch GmbH core operating areas are spread across four business sectors: mobility (hardware and software), consumer goods (including household appliances and power tools), industrial technology (including drive and control), and energy and building technology. Last year, Bosch generated USD 88 billion — making it one of the biggest private companies in the world.
- Founded: 1886
- Bosch Headquarters: Gerlingen, Germany
- Bosch Revenue: USD 86.17 billion
- Bosch Number of Employees: 400,100
Bosch Products and Services
- Automotive parts, power tools, security systems, home appliances, engineering, electronics, cloud computing, IoT
Rounding out BizVibe’s list of the top 10 largest private companies in the world is Suning Holdings Group. Suning Holdings Group is a Chinese privately-held company. Founded in 1990, Suning Holdings Group is one of the leading commercial enterprises in China. Last year Suning Holdings Group generated USD 86 billion — making it one of the biggest private companies in the world in 2020 by revenue.
- Founded: 1990
- Suning Holdings Group Headquarters: Nanjing, China
- Suning Holdings Group Revenue: USD 86 billion
- Suning Holdings Group Number of Employees: 10,001+
This is BizVibe’s list of the top 10 largest private companies in the world by revenue in 2020. These companies are directly contributing to the stellar growth of the private sector.
Complete List of the Largest Private Companies in the World by Revenue 2020
This is the complete list of the biggest private companies in the world based on revenues generated in the private sector. These numbers are in USD billions.
Revenue (in billions of USD)
|10||Suning Holdings Group||86||China|
|12||Amer International Group||72.3||China|
|14||Deloitte||46.2||Great Britain , USA|
|16||PricewaterhouseCoopers||42.4||Great Britain, USA|
|17||Louis Dreyfus Company||36.5||Netherlands|
|18||Ernst & Young||36.4||Great Britain, USA|
|23||C&S Wholesale Grocers||27||USA|
|27||Pilot Flying J||21.4||USA|
|28||Cox Enterprises, Inc.||21||USA|
|30||Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores||20||USA|
|31||Southern Wine & Spirits||19||USA|
|33||Wakefern Food Corporation||16.6||USA|
|34||Prime Therapeutics llc||16.4||USA|
|35||JM Family Enterprises||16.3||USA|
|37||Gordon Food Service||14.716||USA|
|40||Smart & Final||12.4||USA|
|45||Chevron Phillips Chemical||11.2||USA|
|47||World Wide Technology||11||USA|
|50||S. C. Johnson & Son||10.8||USA|
|51||McKinsey & Company||10.6||USA|
|53||BAE Systems Inc||10.1||USA|
|57||SHI International Corp||9.9||USA|
|62||Gulf States Toyota Distributors||9.1||USA|
- Vitol is the largest privately owned company in the world by revenue, generated USD 231 billion last year.
- 50 of the top 60 largest private companies in the world by revenues are headquartered in the USA.
The Future of the Global Private Sector
Looking past 2020, 90 percent of jobs in developing countries are in the private sector. In developed countries like the USA, private companies have always been integral to the market and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon. Led by the top 10 largest private companies in the world mentioned in the article, expect the global private sector to continue flourishing.