As always the publication of the Financial Times Global 500 conveys a great deal of information about the world's most important publicly quoted companies - FT rankings are by stockmarket capitalisation. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e01aab98-40c9-11dd-bd48-0000779fd2ac.html
The most striking trend is the sharp decline in the weight of US and Japanese companies.
In 1996 US companies accounted for 40.6 per cent of the total number of Global 500 companies, and by 2008 this had declined to 33.8 per cent. The decline of Japanese companies was even sharper from 22.0 per cent to 7.8 per cent. A smaller decline took place for the UK.
Unsurprisingly the largest gainers were BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) companies. These rose from 3.2 per cent of the total in 1996 to 14.4 per cent in 2008.
But Eurozone based companies also advanced significantly from 13.4 per cent to 19.8 per cent of the companies in the same period.