Comparing Apples With Apples: Could Tim Cook Buy Every Apple in the World?

By James O Malley on at

As we all know, Apple is the the most valuable company in the world. At the time of writing, it has a market cap (that's the current stock price multiplied by the number of outstanding shares) of $622.77 billion - which is insane.

In fact, it has so much money it barely knows what to do with it. According to TechCrunch, back in June the company reported that it had $231.5bn cash-on-hand. That's money it essentially has in the bank, that isn't tied up - that could be spent however it wishes.

And this made us wonder the obvious question: Could Apple buy every single actual apple in the world? Join us now on as we make this spurious back-of-the-envelope calculation.

So how much is every apple worth? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the US data is easiest to come by. According to the US Apple Association, the US has 7500 apple producers, who grow around 240 million bushels of apples every year, across 322,000 acres of land. And if you add up the wholesale value of this produce, it adds up to around $4bn.

This means that with its $231.5bn on hand, if Tim Cook wanted to, he could buy the entire American apple crop 57 times over.

But what about the rest of the world? Annoyingly, the stats are harder to find though I reckon we can make a fairly good estimate of the figures.

The World Apple and Pear Association has figures on apple yields for different parts of the world in metric tonnes. Annoyingly, the figures only go up to 2010, but what that does tell us is that in 2010, the US produced 4,212,330 tonnes of apples. Though it is only the second largest producer - in the same year China produced a massive 33,266,900 tonnes. That's almost half of all of the apples in the world: 69,567,526 tonnes all in all.

And while this data is a few years out of date, we can perhaps get away with making the assumption that the proportion of apples grown is roughly the same. So that would mean that the US produces around 6% of the world's apples.

Now we know that those 6% of apples is worth $4 billion, it means that according to the back of my proverbial envelope all of the apples in the world produced this year works out at about $66.67bn. This doesn't quite work - leaving aside the crude nature of this calculation, buying apples internationally means that companies will encounter tariffs and taxes, that countries use to protect their domestic industries - which might put some hefty extra costs on the import of apples, or even restrict it all together.

But... if this wasn't the case, it would mean that Tim Cook has enough cash in his bank account to buy every apple produced this year almost 3.5 times over. Admittedly, his shareholders might not be very happy - so he'd probably have to paint them white, dump all of the less than perfect ones, and then sell them back to us with an enormous mark-up.

How do you like them apples?