Company or enterprise operating in several countries, usually defined as one that has 25% or more of its output capacity located outside its country of origin.
The world's four largest multinationals (1994) were General Motors, Ford, Exxon, and Shell. Their total sales exceeded the gross national product of all of Africa, and the top 100 multinationals controlled $3.4 trillion in financial assets.
In 1993, multinationals accounted for one-third of the world's industrial output, with sales of $4,800 billion. They are seen in some quarters as posing a threat to individual national sovereignty and as exerting undue influence to secure favorable operating conditions. Unsuccessful efforts were made 1992, under UN auspices, to negotiate a voluntary code of conduct for multinationals, but governments and corporations alike were hostile to the idea.