How many countries are worth less than Apple?

Apple’s market cap has gotten so big, it’s more valuable than a lot of countries.

And we’re not just talking about tiny third-world nations. Apple’s market capitalization, which is the value of how much the company is worth, has recently swelled to more than $500 billion, and at its high point yesterday it managed to climb all the way to $547 billion.

CNN took an interesting angle on this story and looked at countries with a gross domestic product (GDP) of less than $500 billion. It noted that Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan all has GDPs that were less that Apple’s valuation.

In other words, Apple is an incredible company and is clearly leading the way when it comes to innovation.

Apple becomes only the sixth company in corporate history to ever have a market cap of more than half a trillion dollars. The others are Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, GE, and Exxon Mobil. That’s a pretty nice group of companies to have in your neighborhood.

And about that $500 billion number – it happened quickly. It only took about a month for Apple to go from $400 billion to $500 billion. The company’s stock price has already managed to show a 35% growth this year.

And the most noteworthy thing is that there’s no end in sight. In fact, in the near future there’s nothing but blue skies; Apple is planning to unveil the iPad 3 in just a matter of days. That will no doubt cause a rally and push the stock price up even higher. How high can it go?