By Fortune Video
July 22, 2015

It was a topsy-turvy year. Collectively, the 500 biggest companies in the world ranked by revenue set a new record in 2014 by generating $31.2 trillion in sales, a gain of 0.5% over 2013. But total profit for the Global 500 fell nearly 15% to $1.7 trillion. One major reason for the plunge was lower crude prices, which hit the oil and gas industry hard. Then there was the Fannie and Freddie factor: In 2013, U.S. mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac surged to a combined $133 billion in profit. That figure dropped to just $22 billion in 2014. The single biggest profitmaker was Industrial & Commercial Bank of China. Its $44.8 billion in net income outpaced even Apple’s robust $39.5 billion profit. —Brian O’Keefe

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