Top 10 Global Semiconductor Companies
When automotive facilities shut down at the start of the pandemic, many semiconductor facilities flipped the switch to make chips for consumer electronics. Since 2020, the world has faced a semiconductor shortage due supply chain disruption. But many of our most important devices are powered by semiconductors—the tiny, electricity-conducting chips that are now in short supply.
In 2021, you can be confident that the world’s largest semiconductor companies will do everything in their power to ramp up chip production. Even with COVID, by 2027, these companies are predicted to see a compound annual growth rate of 4-5% per year. Compared to 2019, that’s an additional US$315bn.
Here we go...
2020 Revenue: $77.87 billion
Founded in 1968, Intel employs 110,000+ employees in 46 countries. The company develops the x86 microprocessor series, which powers Lenovo, HP, and Dell laptops and HPs. In addition to microchips, Intel produces integrated circuits, embedded processors, flash memory, and motherboards.
The company consistently makes the top 50 of the US Fortune 500 list as ranked by total revenue. But Intel also gives back. In 2020, Intel donated US$6mn to international COVID-19 relief, focusing on education, health, community development, and economic support; supported social justice with US$500,000 in employee donation matching; and provided disaster relief to victims of the Taal Volcano in the Philippines, the Amphan and Nisarga cyclones in India, and wildfire in Australia.
09: Samsung Electronics
2020 Revenue: $52.2 billion
Headquartered in the Yeongtong District of Suwon, South Korea, Samsung Electronics operates in 74 countries with 290,000 employees. The company services Apple, Sony, HTC, and Nokia and is the world’s largest maker of mobile phones. Classic models such as its Samsung Galaxy devices rely on its semiconductors, in addition to lithium-ion batteries, camera displays, and sensors.
Its total assets may come to US$304bn, but Samsung still focuses on the people at the core of its mission. “[We] follow a simple business philosophy”, the company stated. “To devote [our] talent and technology to creating superior products and services that contribute to a better global society”.
08: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC)
2020 Revenue: $45.5 billion
Since 1994, TSMC has achieved a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.4% in revenue. The company’s semiconductors are used in Apple’s popular MacBook Air and iPhone 12 products, which is part of the reason why TSMC produces more than 10 million semiconductors per year. TSMC also wins the award for the world’s largest independent semiconductor factory—employing 50,000+ employees.
Winner of the 2021 IEEE Corporate Innovation Award, TSMC deployed 281 process technologies and manufactured 11,617 products in 2020 alone. The company is the first to provide 5-nanometre production capabilities—an advanced semiconductor technology. “[Our mission] is to be the most reputable, service-oriented, and maximum-total-benefits silicon foundry”, the company wrote.
07: SK Hynix Inc.
2020 Revenue: $25.27 billion
One of the world’s largest manufacturers of memory chips, SK Hynix operates four production sites in Korea and China, four R&D centres, and ten sales offices around the globe. Its semiconductor clients include Apple, Asus, Dell, and HP, and in Seoul alone, the company employs 22,000+ workers.
With over three decades of expertise, SK Hynix sells DRAM and NAND flash semiconductors, CMOS image sensors, and next-generation memory technologies such as PCRAM, STT-MRAM, and ReRam. “Semiconductors are more than just components”, the company wrote. “In today’s digital world, semiconductors are the engine that drives the present and the future of the IT industry”.
06: Broadcom Corporation
2020 Revenue: $23.89 billion
Broadcom’s clients include Apple, Motorola, IBM, Dell, Asus, Lenovo, Logitech, Nokia, Nintendo—quite the list. The company produces chips that can speed up encryption times, helping corporations manage communications and e-commerce. Its BCM43 chips provide wifi support to both Apple and Android devices, which, when combined, serve most of the world. In 2020, Broadcom announced the world’s first Wi-Fi 6E mobile chip and the most comprehensive portfolio of Wi-Fi 6E Access Point Solutions. Now, how’s that for innovation?
2020 Revenue: $23.53 billion
A jack-of-all-trades, Qualcomm manufacturers semiconductors spanning multiple industries: automotive, watches, laptops, smartphones, and Wi-Fi. In 2017, the company created its first PC server chip, the Centriq 2400. Operating 170+ offices in more than 40 countries, Qualcomm has also blazed trails in 5G, 4G, CDMA2000, TD-SCDMA, and WCDMA communications across the world. A unique feature: the company owns Qualcomm Hall, a 534-seat venue that focuses on education, health, culture, and arts programmes.
04: Micron Technology
2020 Revenue: $21.43 billion
An Idaho-based semiconductor company, Micron employs approximately 40,000 team members across 18 locations worldwide. In 2019, the company released the first microSD card with 1-terabyte storage, and as of 2020, it manufactures a 3.84TB SSD—the largest of its kind in the world. And Micron is on the lookout for new talent. “Our memory needs your mind”, the company wrote. “At Micron, we're looking for visionaries, scientists, leaders, and believers to help us develop technologies that will transform our world”.
03: Applied Materials
2020 Revenue: $17.2 billion
20,00+ employees strong, Applied Materials operates out of Silicon Valley and manufactures semiconductors for electronics, computers, smartphones, and solar products. The company enables its clients to build larger capacity and speedier memory chips, faster-integrated processors, and high-resolution displays. According to AM, its IP portfolio is the semiconductor industry’s strongest, holding more than 14,300 patents. The company applies for 4+ patents every day—and yes, that means Saturdays and Sundays.
02: Nvidia Corporation
2020 Revenue: $14.78 billion
Another Silicon Valley operation, Nvidia runs a graphics processing units (GPU) line, “GeForce”. Its Nvidia GeForce 3060 Ti is the most powerful gaming GPU, and in the United States, Nvidia is the most popular graphic processor. Yet, in recent years, GPU deep learning has ignited modern AI, acting as the brain of computers, robots, and self-driving cars.
01: Texas Instruments Inc.
2020 Revenue: $14.46 billion
A superstar of analogue chips and embedded processors, Texas Instruments has been creating semiconductors since 1930. Its creations are legendary: in 1954, the world’s first commercial silicon transistor; in 1958, the integrated circuit; and in 1987, the DLP chip. As the company’s chips are common in most electronic devices, TI is helping its clients “meet demands for smaller, faster, and more reliable chips”.
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