In 2022, the steel industry faced unprecedented challenges as a consequence of China’s zero-COVID policy, the slowdown in automobile production, and uncertainty in the real estate market, causing global crude steel output to slip by 4.2%. Despite these hurdles, some companies managed to navigate the volatile market and maintain their dominance.
This article profiles the top 10 steel producers worldwide, investigating their revenues, geographic reach, and product diversity. From ArcelorMittal’s extensive operations across 60 countries to Tata Steel’s significant production capacity in India, these steel giants continue to shape the global market, developing high-quality steel products for various industries while contributing to advancements in technology and sustainability.
China Baowu Group, headquartered in Pudong, Shanghai, is the world’s largest steelmaker and a prominent producer of many products, including steel plates, strip steels, hot-rolled steels, cold-rolled steels, and steel wires. Established in 1978, as of 2020 it employed around 227,000 individuals and continues to serve multiple industries such as automobile, petrochemical, transportation, nuclear power, household appliances, metalwork, energy, machinery manufacturing, electronic instruments, and astronautics.
Baowu’s steelmaking units span eight provinces and two municipalities, with an impressive annual crude steel output of approximately 131 million metric tons, aiming to reach 200 million metric tons by 2025. Baowu showcases a significant global presence, exporting its specialized steel, stainless steel, and carbon steel products to over 40 countries. The sheer output of Baowu correlated to an immense revenue of $150.7 billion in 2022, and landed the company at number 44 on the Global 500.
With its headquarters in Luxembourg, ArcelorMittal, a titan in the steel industry, operates in over 60 countries. At its inception in 2006 through the merger of Arcelor and Mittal Steel, the company produced 10% of the world’s steel. The company currently employs 154,000 workers and is the second-largest producer of steel currently in operation.
Its wide range of high-quality finished and semi-finished steel products, including sheet and plate, bars, rods, pipes, tubes, and structural shapes, finds its way to various sectors such as automotive, appliance, engineering, construction, and machinery industries across roughly 160 countries. The firm also diversifies into mining, producing iron ore lump, fines, concentrate, sinter feed, coking, PCI, and thermal coal. ArcelorMittal’s operations and products are widespread, pulling in $79.83 billion in revenue in 2022.
POSCO, short for Pohang Iron and Steel Company, has been one of the world’s largest steel manufacturers for decades. It was established in 1968 and is based in Pohang, South Korea. The company operates two of the world’s largest mills in Pohang and Gwangyang, collectively producing 38.6 million tons of steel annually.
Its extensive product portfolio includes flat steel, long steel, plates, and wires. In 2022, POSCO achieved a notable increase in revenue of 11.83%, rising to $76.5 billion. The company attributes its success to increased demand and higher metal prices. As an industry leader, POSCO continues to enhance its production capabilities while maintaining a robust global presence.
The 4th largest steel provider globally, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC) was established in 2012 through the merging of Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal. NSSMC operates in 15 countries, employing around 106,000 individuals. It provides a broad range of high-quality stainless steel products, including steel plates, sheets, bars, and wire rods, catering to sectors like construction, automobiles, civil engineering, energy, resources, and railways.
Nippon Steel’s innovative offerings include the world’s first Sn-added low-interstitial ferritic steel grades and, more recently, a new type of duplex stainless steel. Additionally, NSSMC serves large industrial and social structures, maritime structures for oil and gas extraction, and high-performance steel plates for energy-related products. 2022 was a solid year for the Japanese steel giant, with a 4.32% revenue increase up to $58.83 billion.
Hebei Iron and Steel Group (HBIS) is a state-owned enterprise founded in 2008 and headquartered in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province. Its diverse product portfolio includes wire rod, cold-rolled plate, hot-rolled steel, bar, hot-rolled plate, galvanized plate, and welded pipe, among others. As China’s largest home appliance steel supplier, it also ranks second in automotive steel and leads in steel for marine engineering, bridges, and construction.
With a significant global footprint, it directly or indirectly holds more than 70 overseas companies and has overseas assets reaching $9 billion. Hebei employs over 116,000 people, including 13,000 overseas, and generated $56.1 billion in revenue in 2022. It is a leader not just in size but also in the diversity and quality of its offerings.
JFE Holdings Inc., formed in 2002, is a globally recognized integrated steel producer, placed among the largest in the world. Originating from the merger of NKK and Kawasaki Steel Corp, the company, based in Japan, produces steel under JFE Steel Corp. Its broad product line comprises steel sheets, stainless steel, and iron powders, serving diverse market needs.
The company has expanded its influence overseas, holding significant stakes in firms like California Steel Industries in the US and AK Steel and Dongkuk Steel in South Korea. JFE Holdings also operates joint ventures in China and Thailand. In 2022, it posted impressive revenues of $38.85 billion, registering a 28.06% profit increase from 2021.
Jianlong Group, a heavyweight in the steel industry, is a private-owned enterprise headquartered in Beijing. The group, established in 2000, comprises 14 companies across several industries, including steel, shipping, and electromechanical. Its 57,000 employees and large infrastructure brought in $38.36 billion in revenue in 2022.
Focused on producing ore, including iron, copper, molybdenum, vanadium, and phosphate, the group provides an impressive 44.3 million metric tons annually. Jianlong Group also maintains a smelting and rolling capacity of 40 million tons of crude steel, affirming its significant presence in the industry.
Aside from its core business, the group has diversified into shipbuilding, motor, and wind turbine manufacturing, coke production, and vanadium pentoxide smelting. By adopting a strategy of diversification and consistent capacity expansion, Jianlong Group has positioned itself as a significant entity in the global metal manufacturing sector.
Tata Steel Limited, a subsidiary of the Tata Group, is an Indian multinational steelmaking company based in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, with headquarters in Mumbai. Globally recognized for its steel production capacity, Tata Steel produced 30.18 million metric tons of crude steel in 2022, making it tenth on the list of leading steel producers worldwide. The company is geographically diverse, with operations across the globe, employing around 65,000 people on five continents.
For the end of their fiscal year in March 2023, the group reported revenue of $32.71 billion. Tata Steel’s significant production capacity is attributed to its largest plant located in Jamshedpur, with other critical operations in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The company caters to various sectors, including automotive, construction, consumer goods, and more.
Shougang Group, a state-owned enterprise based in Beijing, China, is a formidable player in the global steel industry. Established in 1919, the company has been instrumental in producing various steel products, including hot-rolling coils, cold-rolling coils, electric steel, heavy plates, and long steel. Leveraging the collective efforts of its 96,000 employees, Shougang Group boasts an annual steel production capacity exceeding 33 million metric tons.
As of mid-June 2023, the company has not released its annual report, so the most recent data is from their impressive FY 2021, when they pulled in $18.8 billion. This signaled a 66.85% year-on-year revenue growth from 2020. Apart from its steel business, Shougang also ventures into mining, machinery development, electronics, construction, real estate, and overseas operations, shaping its identity as a leading multi-diverse corporation. The company is recognized on various stock exchanges, with several listed subsidiaries.
Ansteel Group, also known as Angang Group, is a Chinese state-owned steel maker situated in Anshan, Liaoning. According to its annual report, in 2022, Ansteel took in a revenue of $18.39 billion and refined more than 55 million tons of steel and around 25 million tons of iron. The company offers 3000 steel grades along with more than 60,000 specifications of high-tech and high-value-added steel. Ansteel, under the supervision of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, has been ranked seventh in the world by the World Steel Association and has won an award for low carbon emission steel production.
In 2021, Ansteel began merging and restructuring with Ben Gang Group Corporation, a process expected to create the world’s third-largest steelmaker. Committed to industry transformation, Ansteel actively promotes green and low-carbon initiatives, indicating its commitment to sustainability and innovation in the steel industry.