A:

Several industries have companies with a high proportion of intangible assets. The highest percentages occur in the types of companies operating in computer technology, entertainment and media, consumer products and services, and healthcare.

An intangible asset is one that does not have a physical presence. Common types of intangible assets include the intellectual property of a company (such as trademarks, copyrights, patents, or research and development), brand names, goodwill and talent (specifically employees). An intangible asset such as a brand name stays with a company for its entire life and therefore is classified as indefinite. Though an intangible asset cannot be physically valued, it can often be a determining factor between a company's success or failure. Coca-Cola provides an excellent example; the value of the highly recognized brand name is virtually inestimable and is acknowledged as an critical factor in the Coca-Cola Company's success and revenues.

In the technology industry, particularly within the area of computer companies, copyrights, patents, critical employees, and research and development are key intangible assets. In the entertainment and media sector, intangible assets such as publishing rights and essential talent personnel are of great value. For the consumer products and services industry, patents of formulas and recipes, along with brand name recognition, are essential intangible assets in highly competitive markets. The healthcare industry tends to have a high proportion of intangible assets, including brand names, valuable employees, and research and development of medicines and methods of care. The automobile industry within the transportation sector also relies heavily on intangible assets, primarily patented technologies and brand names. For example, the words "Corvette" and "Ferrari" are worth billions.

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