Zia_Wigder  By Zia Daniell Wigder

Fortune just published its Global 500 2009 list which
outlines the largest 500 corporations in the world.
A few observations on how the list is evolving, with a particular focus on the
top 15 countries (those with eight or more Fortune 500 companies listed this year):

The list of countries
represented is growing.
In 2007, there were 33 countries on the list, in
2008 there were 35. This year there were 37: new additions included Hungary, Israel
and Venezuela (Fortis, a Belgian/Dutch financial services company, dropped off the list).

Of the top 15
countries represented, four saw a decline in the number of companies
While there are still twice as many Fortune 500 companies based in
the US as in the next
country on the list (Japan),
the number of US companies declined from 162 in 2007 to 140 in 2009. The number
of Fortune 500 companies in Britain, Canada and the Netherlands also fell. By contrast,
all other countries in the top 15 saw their numbers grow or remain flat. Out of
the top 15, Russia, China and Spain showed the highest percentage
growth in the number of companies listed. 

However, the list of
top countries remains relatively constant.
The top 15
countries on the Fortune 500 list has included the same countries for the past
two years, with countries rarely shifting more than one or two places on the
list. The one exception remains Russia
which vaulted from #20 on the list two years ago to #15 in 2009.

While mergers and acquisitions certainly affect the number of companies listed by country each year,  the new numbers
reflect the increasingly diverse face of global business.