Apple's rise to $1trn, Valuation Milestone Since 1781

Last week we have seen Apple reaching a milestone by becoming the first company in the U.S. to hit a market cap of $1 trillion and thereby becoming the largest company in the world.

Over the last couple of centuries, the largest company in the world has almost always been based in the United States. Here are the major market cap milestones in the U.S. that preceded Apple’s recent $1 trillion valuation:

  • Bank of North America (1781)

The first company to hit $1 million in market capitalization. It was the first ever IPO in the United States and thus it held 100% of the market share in the country.

  • Bank of the United States (1791)

The first company to hit $10 million in market capitalization had a 20-year charter to start, and was championed by Alexander Hamilton. The bank had 85% of the market share (out of 4 companies)

  • New York Central Railroad (1878)

The first company to hit $100 million in market capitalization was a crucial railroad that connected New York City, Chicago, Boston, and St. Louis. The firm had a market share of 6.9% (out of 777 companies).

  • AT&T (1924)

The first company to hit $1 billion in market capitalization – this was far before the breakup of AT&T into the “Baby Bells”, which occurred in 1982. The company had 3% market share out of 3179 companies.

  • General Motors (1955)

The first company to hit $10 billion in market capitalization. The 1950s were the golden years of growth for U.S. auto companies like GM and Ford, taking place well before the mass entry of foreign companies like Toyota into the domestic automobile market. The company had 5.3% of total market share (out of 2343 companies)

  • General Electric (1995)

The first company to hit $100 billion in market capitalization was only able to do so 23 years ago. The company had 1.8% total market share (out of 7912 companies).

An interesting fact to note is that it is not really Apple who become the first company worldwide to hit $1 trillion in market capitalisation. PetroChina managed to hit this incredible mark in 2007 after an IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange that same year. Following the huge rise in price, the company lost more than $800 billion over a few months due to a drastic decline in oil prices and the turmoil arising from the global financial crises.


charts source: visual capitalists

2 - Comments

Filippo Cova - 08 agosto 15:48 Reply

How do you perceive the APPL stock price growth in light of the trade war between the US and China? What if Chinese government will tackle the taxation of Apple's earnings in response to US tariffs?

Christian Buhagiar - 08 agosto 16:22 Reply

Very good question.. from what I know Apple is very exposed to the Chinese Market as many of its revenues  (c. 20%) comes from this country. One would need to make a distinction though between products coming to China from the US or else Phones actually assembled in China which I dont think will be affected.

I don't think the Chinese will try to hurt Apple directly but maybe pressure it to increase their manufacutring and supply chain through the use of mainland China resources, rather than from the outside.