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Apple worth more than Greece, South Africa

In 2011, Apple briefly passed Exxon Mobil to become the world’s most valuable company. In the wake of the tech company announcing plans to completely reinvent the textbook, however, the tech giant’s valuation rose above $400-billion – a record high.

Shares in the Cupertino-based megalith fell back from the all time high, leaving it with a $398-billion market value at the end of trading. According to CNN Money, that still puts Apple well ahead of its nearest competitors and the Gross Domestic Product’s of some medium-sized countries.

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PetroChina, valued at $270-billion, and fierce tech rival Microsoft ($235-billion) are third and fourth in the stock race respectively, but lag some distance behind Apple.

CNN Money reckons that Apple’s market cap “is higher than the gross domestic product of Greece, Austria, Argentina, or South Africa”.

Despite its size and age, Apple is still growing at incredible pace. According to CNN money “analysts expect Apple to announce that its sales grew by 45% compared to last year”.

Not bad for a company that had a market cap of just $10-billion in 2001. The revitalisation of Apple is widely credited to the return of its late co-founder Steve Jobs.

After a prolonged absence from the company, during which he founded NeXT computers and acquired what would eventually become Pixar animation studio, Jobs returned as CEO in the late 90s.

He introduced a series of products, including the iPod, iPhone and iPad, all renowned for the design and easy user experience. The release of the iPhone in 2007 was an especially important catalyst in Apple’s massive growth.

Apple isn’t the only large tech company seeing high income growth. IBM reported that its net income jumped seven percent in 2011, while chip manufacturing giant Intel announced that its net revenues climbed 24% in the 12 months leading up to 2011.

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