The 15 Largest Tobacco Companies In The World

By Chris Kolmar
Apr. 16, 2023
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Largest Tobacco Companies Research Summary

  • The largest tobacco company in the world is the China National Tobacco Corporation, with a revenue of $273 billion.

  • Roughly 250 billion cigarettes are bought in the United States each year.

  • The global tobacco market was valued at over $912 billion in 2022.

  • The global tobacco market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 2.5% through 2030.

Many experts describe the tobacco industry as one of the most difficult to predict. This is due to a variety of major conflicting factors that could drive the industry in either direction.

On one hand, millions of tobacco consumers each year actively seek alternatives due to a more widespread understanding of the negative health effects associated with such products.

On the other, many tobacco companies are reaching new customers by developing novel products such as clove and menthol cigarettes. Recent improvements in technology are also increasing the capacity and efficiency of tobacco production.

Perhaps the best way to understand where the tobacco industry is and where it’s headed is to study the current top players in the market. In this article, we’ll discuss the 15 largest tobacco companies in the world to provide you with that insight.

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These 15 largest tobacco companies as of early 2021 are:

  1. China National Tobacco Corporation. Beijing, China

    2022 Revenue: $273 billion

    Also known as China Tobacco, China National Tobacco Corporation is a Chinese state-owned tobacco company that produces 90% of all cigarettes sold in China, which also makes up 40% of all cigarettes consumed worldwide.

    China Tobacco does not directly produce most of the tobacco that it sells. Rather, the company contracts the work down to smaller, local factories and farms.

    It then picks up the completed orders and transports them across their national distribution network for sale.

    China Tobacco currently owns over 900 cigarette and tobacco-related brands. Their largest brand is named Hongtashen, and accounts for just over 4% of their total sales.

    The company is currently investing heavily into building manufacturing infrastructure so that it can produce more of its own products, rather than contracting the work. They currently own 130 cigarette factories across China.

  2. Imperial. England, United Kingdom

    2022 Revenue: $41.69 billion

    Formerly known as Imperial Tobacco Group, Imperial Brands is a multinational logistics and cigarette company that sells its products in over 160 countries worldwide.

    The company owns 51 factories, employs 32,200 workers, and produces over 320 million cigarettes each year.

    They own many best-selling brands, including Rizla, the most popular rolling paper in the world. Some of their other notable brands include Davidoff, Gauloises Blondes, and Montecristo.

    Imperial Brands has faced many logistics and operational challenges over the last decade, largely due to more restrictive regulations being set in countries in which they manufacture their products.

    The company’s French factory was closed in 2016, and operations had to be moved to Eastern Europe.

    In the same year, Imperial Brands also had to close operations across the United Kingdom. The closure of their manufacturing factory in Nottingham marked the end of all tobacco production by any company in England.

    To combat increasingly restrictive cigarette laws across most global markets, Imperial Brands is heavily investing in cannabis and smoke-free cigarette products.

    Imperial Brands Ventures, one of the company’s subsidiaries, bought a large stake in Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies in 2018 to move towards this end.

  3. Find Imperial Jobs Near Me

  4. British American Tobacco. England, United Kingdom

    2022 Revenue: $34.21 billion

    British American Tobacco is a multinational company that produces tobacco, cigarettes, and other nicotine-based products.

    The company operates and sells its products in over 180 countries. It owns many popular cigarette brands such as Kent, Lucky Strike, and Dunhill.

    British American Tobacco also owns:

    • Ente Tabacchi Italiani (ETI). ETI is the second-largest tobacco company in Italy, which is the second-largest cigarette market in the European Union.

    • Tekei. Tekei is the largest tobacco company in Turkey. The company was completely state-owned prior to acquisition by British American Tobacco.

    • Bulgartabac. Bulgaratac manages several brands that are all among the most popular cigarette brands in Bulgaria.

    British American Tobacco sponsors many organizations to keep their brands relevant among consumers. Notably, the company sponsors the London Symphony Orchestra and the Cricket World Cup.

    British American Tobacco also holds a multi-year partnership deal with McLaren that denotes them as the car manufacturer’s Formula 1 Principal Partner.

  5. Find British American Tobacco Jobs Near Me

  6. Philip Morris International. Stamford, Connecticut

    2022 Revenue: $31.76 billion

    Philip Morris is a multinational tobacco and cigarette manufacturing company that operates in over 180 countries around the world.

    The company was formed in 2008 after it spun off from Altria, another one of the largest tobacco producers in the world.

    Philip Morris’ best-selling product is the internationally-known cigarette brand Marlboro, which alone accounts for 80% of the company’s entire global sales each year.

    They also own numerous other multi-billion dollar cigarette brands such LM, ST Dupont Paris, and Longbeach.

    In addition to tobacco consumables, Phillip Morris also produces vaporizers and tobacco ancillary products. The company has stated its main focus over the next few years to be the development of new smoke-free and non-combustible tobacco products.

  7. Find Philip Morris International Jobs Near Me

  8. Altria. Henrico County, Virginia

    2022 Revenue: $25.096 billion

    Altria Group is one the largest producers of cigarettes, tobacco, and nicotine products in the world.

    Altria formed through a merger in 1985 between various subsidiaries of Philip Morris Companies that split-off as their own independent organizations. Altria is currently the parent company of these subsidiaries, as well as other large companies such as John Middleton and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company.

    These subsidiaries should not be confused with Philip Morris International, which spun-off from Altria in 2008 and is now its own independently-operated company.

    Like most other large cigarette companies, Altria Group is investing heavily in developing and bringing to market new smokeless tobacco products. In 2018, the company acquired a 35% stake in the e-cigarette company JUUL labs.

  9. Find Altria Jobs Near Me

  10. Eastern Company. Cairo, Egypt

    2022 Revenue: $21 billion

    Eastern Co SAE, also known as Eastern Tobacco Company, is the largest manufacturer of cigarettes and cigars in Egypt. They also produce molasses tobacco, pipe tobacco, and cigarette filters.

    The company is structured as two divisions that each specializes in domestic versus international operations.

    The international division’s best-selling tobacco products include brands such as Cleopatra, Taba, and Golden West. The domestic segment offers locally-popular brands such as Mondial, Corona, and Legation.

    In addition to selling tobacco-based products, Eastern Co SAE also operates in the industries of real estate, finance, and agriculture.

  11. Japan Tobacco Inc. Tokyo, Japan

    2022 Revenue: $14.7 billion

    Japan Tobacco Inc. is the largest cigarette manufacturer in Japan, possessing 66.4% of the country’s cigarette market.

    It was an entirely state-owned entity under the name Japan Tobacco and Salt until it became publicly listed in 1985.

    Public shareholders currently own approximately 65% of the company. Japan’s ministry of finance currently owns the rest, and is required by law to retain at least a one-third stake in the company.

    Japan Tobacco also maintains a considerable international presence through its overseas subsidiary JT International.

    The company originally acquired the branch from R.J Reynolds, taking control of not only their international marketing and production assets, but many of their popular cigarette brands as well.

    Some of these popular brands that Japan Tobacco acquired from R.J Reynolds include Salem, Camel, and Winston.

    Japan Tobacco also made several major acquisitions in recent years to further expand its international operations.

    Notably, they acquired Mighty Corporation in 2017, making them the largest cigarette producer in the Philippines. In the following year, Japan Tobacco also acquired Donskoy Tabak, the fourth-largest cigarette manufacturer in Russia.

  12. Find Eastern Company Jobs Near Me

  13. PT Gudang Garam Tbk. East Java, Indonesia

    2021 Revenue: $7.9 billion

    Pt Gudang Garam Tbk, also known as Gudang Garam, is the fifth-largest tobacco manufacturer in Indonesia, controlling approximately 20% market share.

    The company is also one of the leading cigarette producers in Taiwan and the Philippines, as well as the single largest employer in both countries with 32,491 workers.

    Gudang Garam is best known for their clove cigarettes, also known as kretek, that they produce using a special saltwater process. The company’s best-selling brands include Gudang Garam International, Surya Brand, and Djaja.

  14. ITC Limited. West Bengal, India

    2022 Revenue: $7.3 billion

    ITC Limited is a multinational company that employs over 36,500 workers and operates more than 60 facilities across India.

    The company originally formed in 1910 under the name Imperial Tobacco Company of Indiana Limited. It later changed its name to ITC Limited to better represent the wide variety of industries it operates in.

    In addition to manufacturing cigarettes and tobacco products, ITC Limited also produces paper packaging products and even manages several hotel chains.

    ITC Limited sells approximately 81% of its cigarettes within India. The remaining 19% are sold primarily in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. The company owns many well-known brands such as Gold Flake Premium Lights, India Kings, and Capstan.

    Part of the company’s method to drive cigarette sales is to acquire chains of convenience stores and grocers, allowing them to choose how to strategically display their products.

    Towards this end, ITC Limited purchased a 100% stake in Sunrise Foods, a leader in India’s convenience store market.

  15. Djarum PT. Central Java, Indonesia

    2022 Revenue: $4.6 billion

    Djanum PT is one of the largest kretek cigarette producers in Indonesia, controlling 18% of the market. The privately-owned company operates in many non-tobacco industries as well, including sporting goods, banking, and technology.

    The company’s most popular kretek brands domestically are Clavor, Djarum Black, and Djarum Cigarillos.

    Djarum PT also sells kretek in the United States. Due to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 banning most flavored cigarettes within the country, the company markets kretek instead as a form of filtered cigarette.

    Djarum PT currently employs over 75,000 people and operates four manufacturing facilities in Indonesia.

  16. Tobacco Authority of Thailand. Bangkok, Thailand

    2022 Revenue: $3.35 billion

    The Tobacco Authority of Thailand is a fully state-owned enterprise that is given sole permission to produce all tobacco products in Thailand.

    The company formed in 1939 as Thailand Tobacco Monopoly and operated as a non-juristic enterprise under the Ministry of Finance until 2018, when it became a juristic organization and took on its current name.

    This change came as a result of the Tobacco Authority of Thailand Act 2018, which also allowed the company to form new public or limited companies that related to their business.

    These subsidiaries are allowed to sell up to 49% of their equity to foreign shareholders.

    The Tobacco Authority of Thailand currently produces nine brands of cigarettes through seven manufacturing facilities located across Thailand. These factors combined have a total production capacity exceeding 400,000 cigarettes each day.

    The company currently employs over 3,000 workers across the country and controls 55% of the domestic cigarettes market. The remaining 45% is controlled entirely by foreign tobacco companies.

  17. Swisher International Group. Jacksonville, Florida

    2022 Revenue: $2.3 billion

    Swisher International Group is a privately-owned, multinational tobacco manufacturer that owns many of the world’s best-selling cigarette and cigar brands.

    The company was founded in 1861 by the Swisher family, a single father and four sons that hand-rolled cigars in a one-room factory in Newark, Ohio.

    Its operations have since expanded into production capabilities of over two billion cigars each year and a significant sales presence in over 70 countries. The company also employs over 12,000 workers across four manufacturing facilities.

    Swisher International Group’s Swisher Sweet Diamonds and Original are the two best-selling large cigar brands in the United States.

    The company also possesses a 4.6% and 6.7% share of the moist snuff tobacco and loose-leaf chewing tobacco markets, respectively.

  18. Find Swisher International Group Jobs Near Me

  19. Universal. Richmond, Virginia

    2021 Revenue: $2.0 billion

    Universal Corporation is one of the largest tobacco merchants in the world.

    Compared with other companies on this list, they simply engage in the buying, selling, and processing of raw tobacco. Universal Corporation does not manufacture or sell cigarettes or any actual products to end customers.

    The company owns a 49% stake in Socotab LLC, one of the largest oriental leaf tobacco dealers.

    Universal Corporation’s largest customer is Altria Group. Most of their other common clients also rank among the largest cigarette manufacturers in the world.

  20. Find Universal Jobs Near Me

  21. Vietnam National Tobacco Corp. Hanoi, Vietnam

    2022 Revenue: $845 million

    Vietnam National Tobacco Corp, also known as Vinataba is a state-owned company that specializes in producing cigarettes and raw tobacco.

    The company employs over 7,000 employees across its 20 operational branches around the world. Their best-selling brands include Vinastar White, Amore, and Bastion.

    In addition to manufacturing cigarettes for sale under its own brands, Vietnam National Tobacco Corp also produces them for other companies to brand as their own products.

    For example, many of Phillip Morris’ internationally-best-selling Marlboro cigarettes are actually produced by Vietnam National Tobacco Corp through a profit-sharing agreement between the two companies.

  22. KTG. Daejeon, South Korea

    2022 Revenue: $360 million

    Formerly known as Korea Tobacco Ginseng, KTG is the largest tobacco company in South Korea.

    The company formed in 1989 as a fully state-owned monopoly but is now publicly-listed and entirely owned by public shareholders.

    KTG primarily operates in South Korea and possesses over 60% of the country’s cigarette market.

    The company also sells its products internationally, mostly in Japan, the United States, and Europe. Their main competitors are Japan Tobacco, Philip Morris International, and British American Tobacco.

    KTG’s best-selling and most established cigarette brands are Carnival, Pine Prime, and Bohem.

    The company is currently heavily investing in its efforts to expand its Esse brand into Russia and other eastern European countries.

Tobacco Brand FAQ

  1. Who is the largest tobacco company in the world?

    The largest tobacco company in the world is the China National Tobacco Corporation. With a revenue of $273 billion, the China National Tobacco Corporation produces the most tobacco products in the world. It primarily serves its domestic market, which highlights how China leads the world in cigarette consumption.

  2. Who are the Big Tobacco companies?

    Big Tobacco refers to the largest and most well known tobacco companies in the world. Big Tobacco can currently be considered as comprising of Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco International, and China National Tobacco Company.

  3. Who is the biggest tobacco company in USA?

    The biggest tobacco company in the USA is Philip Morris International. Although it operates out of Switzerland, Philip Morris is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, making it the largest tobacco company in the USA.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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