Fortune 500 inaugural Southeast Asia rankings launched


More than 100 Thai companies, six of them in the top 20, were ranked in the first Fortune 500 Southeast Asia list earlier this week, demonstrating the region’s growing importance in the global economy, according to Fortune, the world’s leading business media.

The move was announced as part of Fortune’s Southeast Asia 500 rankings for 2024, a first-time list of the region’s largest companies ranked by revenue in the fiscal year 2023.

With one of the world’s fastest-growing regions now having its own Fortune 500 list, this progress reflects Southeast Asia’s growing importance in the global economy as supply chains shift and the region’s economies develop rapidly.

The inaugural rankings covered companies from seven Southeast Asian countries: Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Cambodia.

Indonesia leads with 110 companies, followed by Thailand with 107. Malaysia, with 89 companies on the list, edged out Singapore, which had 84. The list includes 70 companies from Vietnam, 38 from the Philippines, and two from Cambodia.

Trafigura, a commodities trader based in Singapore, is the top revenue earner on the list, with sales of $244 billion. The privately held commodity trader in minerals, metals, and energy has the fewest employees of the list’s top 10 revenue-generating companies and is the second most profitable.

The top 10 companies in the Southeast Asia 500 are diverse. Thailand’s PTT is ranked second, Indonesia’s Pertamina is third, and Perusahaan Listrik Negara, the Indonesian state electricity company, is sixth.

Notably, Singapore has the most companies in the top 10, with Trafigura followed by Wilmar at No. 4, Olam at No. 5, Flex at No. 8, and DBS at No. 10. Thailand’s CP All is also in the top 10, at No. 7, and San Miguel from the Philippines is No. 9.

Three other Thai companies are in the top 20 in terms of revenue: Indorama Ventures (No. 14), Siam Cement (No. 16), and CP Axtra (No. 19).

The 10 largest companies on the list had revenues of $650 billion. That accounts for more than a third of the revenue generated by all Southeast Asia 500 companies in fiscal 2023, which totalled $1.8 trillion. The minimum revenue threshold for inclusion on the list was $460.8 million.

Banking was the second-largest sector in Southeast Asia, with a combined revenue of $242 billion. Significantly, nine banks are among the top 20 most profitable companies, with Singapore’s DBS leading both in revenue and earnings.

Overall, the Southeast Asia 500’s revenues and profits have declined over the last year. However, these changes, fuelled by weak energy markets, obscured impressive growth stories across multiple industries. Airlines such as Thai Airways, Indonesian miners Harita Nickel and Merdeka Battery Materials, as well as a variety of insurers and banks, were among the fastest-growing companies.

Fortune 500 inaugural Southeast Asia rankings launched

Clay Chandler, Fortune Asia executive editor, pointed out that the Fortune Southeast Asia 500 reflects a dynamic and rapidly changing region, with core economies growing significantly faster than those in Europe or the United States. This is due in part to Southeast Asia’s growing importance in the global economy, with a number of Global 500 multinationals shifting more of their supply chains to Southeast Asian countries.

“The Southeast Asia 500 will track the ascent and descent of the region’s industries – whether their business is commodities, transportation, finance, retail, tech or services – as it chronicles this fast-changing region in the years to come,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Fortune analysts discovered that there are approximately 30 female CEOs and chairmen among the Southeast Asia 500 companies, demonstrating the region’s dynamism. The youngest CEO is Sinon Vongkusolkit, the 34-year-old CEO of Thailand’s Banpu, who took over in March 2024.

In total, 16 executives in their 30s hold the positions of CEO, managing director, executive chairman, or chairman. In total, the 500 companies employ nearly 6 million people.

Khoon-Fong Ang, Fortune’s Asia chief of operations, said he was excited to introduce the Southeast Asia 500 to international readers, building on the company’s 70-year tradition of publishing the Fortune 500.

“With this new list, we turn the spotlight on the impressive growth story of Southeast Asia and the largest companies driving this diverse region and its economies,” he said.

With the introduction of the Southeast Asia 500, the region’s largest companies join an elite group of businesses recognised by inclusion in the prestigious Fortune 500 franchise, which includes the Fortune 500 Global, Fortune 500 Europe, Fortune China 500, and now the Fortune Southeast Asia 500.