World's Top 10 Internet Companies

Internet‑based companies generate revenue through online sales, financial transaction fees, paid advertising, cloud services, and a host of other business lines. The years 2018 and 2019 were particularly strong growth years for this sector. The following ten publicly traded Internet-based companies topped the list.

Key Takeaways

  • Internet‑based companies generate revenue through online sales, financial transaction fees, paid advertising, cloud services, and a host of other business lines.
  • The years 2018 and 2019 were particularly strong growth years for this sector.
  • Amazon, Alphabet, and Meta, (formerly Facebook), were the top three internet‑based companies by revenue.
  1. Amazon (AMZN): Nasdaq‑listed Amazon launched in 1995 as an online bookseller and has since diversified to become the largest U.S. Internet-based retailer of a wide swath of products. In 2019, it reported $280.52 billion in revenue. It had a market capitalization (market cap) of $1.38 trillion on June 30, 2020.
  2. Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): The Internet search giant is the world leader in search, contextual advertising, and other online offerings. NASDAQ‑listed Google had a market cap of $964.51 billion on June 30, 2020. In 2019, its total revenue was $161.86 billion.
  3. Meta (META), formerly Facebook: NASDAQ‑listed Facebook is the world's most popular social networking site. In Oct. 2014, it acquired WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion and has also made many other relatively smaller acquisitions. Meta reported total revenue of $70.7 billion in 2019. It had a market cap of $647.15 on June 30, 2020.
  4. Tencent Holdings: Based in China, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed Tencent Holdings isn't yet a household name outside of Asia, where it is known for its apps, online games, advertising, and messaging services like WeChat. In 2019, its revenues stood at approximately $56.59 billion, and it boasted a market cap of $614.68 billion on June 30, 2020. Tencent is available for trading at Nasdaq through American depositary receipts.
  5. Alibaba (BABA): NYSE‑listed Alibaba made headlines in 2014 when its initial public offering (IPO) became the world's largest IPO ever. The Chinese e-commerce giant had a market cap of $581.20 billion on June 30, 2020. In 2019, its revenue was $56.15 billion.
  6. Netflix (NFLX): Netflix is an entertainment company that provides video streaming services. It has a network of over 167 million members across more than 190 countries. Its market cap was $200.68 billion on June 30, 2020. In 2019, its total revenues were $20.16 billion.
  7. Salesforce.com (CRM): This giant in enterprise cloud computing and social enterprise solutions is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It had a market cap of $176.92 billion on June 30, 2020. In 2019, its total revenues were $13.28 billion.
  8. JD.com (JD): Nasdaq-listed JD.com is a Chinese e-commerce company headquartered in Beijing. It is one of the largest B2C online platforms in China and a member of the Fortune Global 500. Its market cap was $93.01 billion on June 30, 2020. In 2019, its total revenues were $82.865 billion.
  9. Booking.com (BKNG): Booking.com is the online travel company that lets users book reservations for restaurants, hotels, rental cars, airline tickets, safaris, cruises, and other travel services through booking.com, priceline.com, and agoda.com. It had a market cap of $65.20 billion on June 30, 2020. In 2019, its total revenues were $15.07 billion.
  10. Baidu (BIDU): While Google is the world's largest online search engine, it has limited reach in China where Baidu prevails, thanks to its ability to offer maps, news, videos, anti-virus software, and Internet TV. It is listed in the Cayman Islands and is known to restrict search results to comply with Chinese laws and political directives. Its American depository receipt is listed on Nasdaq. It had a market cap of $41.32 billion on June 30, 2020, and it boasted 2019 revenues of $15.43 billion.

The Bottom Line:

Because Internet businesses are highly dynamic, innovation and advances in the tech space mean that new entrants can grow quickly and displace current leaders. Companies can also surge significantly, only to lose steam or fizzle out entirely—a notorious phenomenon of the 2000 dot-com bubble burst. Investors should, therefore, conduct thorough due diligence before investing in Internet-based companies.

Article Sources
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  26. Yahoo Finance. "Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG)." Accessed Sept. 18, 2020.

  27. Booking Holdings. "Form 10-K For the fiscal year ended: December 31, 2019," Page 34. Accessed Sept. 18, 2020.

  28. Baidu. "Form 20-F For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019," Pages 49–50, 65. Accessed Sept. 18, 2020.

  29. NASDAQ. "BIDU Baidu, Inc. ADS." Accessed Sept. 18, 2020.

  30. Yahoo Finance. "Baidu, Inc. (BIDU)." Accessed Sept. 18, 2020.

  31. Baidu. "Form 20-F For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019," Page 3. Accessed Sept. 18, 2020.

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