Gaining greater knowledge of the characteristics of large firms that dominate the global economy is an inherently important endeavour. Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC economies) have gained influence in the global economy and this is reflected in the increasing weight of their companies in Fortune Global 500 rankings. Uneven access to data and information makes understanding the strategy, structure, ownership and performance of large business an ambitious programme of research. The BRIC economies are different from each other and this is also true as far as the heights of their respective business worlds are considered. But they also share some crucial features: concentrated ownership, with governments and families at the helm, diversification and internationalisation.