Apple is the world’s largest information technology company by revenue, the world’s largest technology company by total assets, and the world’s second-largest mobile phone manufacturer, by volume, after Samsung. In November 2014, Apple became the first U.S. company to be valued at over US$700 billion in addition to being the largest publicly traded corporation in the world by market capitalization. The company employs 115,000 full-time employees as of July 2015 and maintains 478 retail stores in seventeen countries as of March 2016. It operates the online Apple Store and iTunes Store, the latter of which is the world’s largest music retailer. Consumers use more than one billion Apple products worldwide as of March 2016.
Apple’s worldwide annual revenue totaled $233 billion for the fiscal year ending in September 2015. This revenue accounts for approximately 1.25% of the total United States GDP. The company enjoys a high level of brand loyalty and, according to Interbrand’s annual Best Global Brands report, has been the world’s most valuable brand for 4 years in a row, with a valuation in 2016 of $178.1 billion. The corporation receives significant criticism regarding the labor practices of its contractors and its environmental and business practices, including the origins of source materials.