SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURER 10 top semiconductor companies – and activities that define them
Today, we all enjoy the benefits of an online lifestyle as our homes, places of work, and automobiles all become smarter and better connected – and semiconductor devices lie at the heart of the enabling technology. But how are these devices going to evolve, and what are the implications for all of us?
This article identifies the world’s top ten semiconductor manufacturers by revenue, and looks at some of the key activities they are involved in. While not completely answering the above questions, it provides a start: our electronic future will be shaped ultimately by the type of products emerging from chip fabs around the world.
The review shows – not surprisingly – that the industry is endeavoring to produce ever higher performance chips to meet the needs of smart computing, high performance computing (HPC), 5G, and artificial intelligence (AI). AI is particularly interesting; while it is providing opportunities for semiconductor manufacturers who can produce the advanced chips needed to run AI applications, it can also be a tool that the same companies can use to improve their own productivity.
The companies below are arranged alphabetically, but the trailing twelve months’ (TTM) operations revenue for each is shown. All revenue header figures are from YCharts as of December 22, 2022.
1. Advanced Micro Devices
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is a multinational semiconductor company that designs and manufactures microprocessors, graphics processing units (GPUs), and other computer hardware components.
AMD is a leading supplier of microprocessors for personal computers and servers, and its products are used in a wide variety of devices including desktop and laptop computers, game consoles, and cloud and enterprise servers. In addition to its core microprocessor and GPU businesses, AMD also offers a range of other products and technologies, including software, memory, and networking solutions.
In January 2023 the company announced that its adaptive computing technology is powering leading mobility supplier DENSO Corporation’s next-generation LiDAR platform. The new platform will enable over 20X1 improvement in resolution with extremely low latency for increased precision in detecting pedestrians, vehicles, free space and more. DENSO’s LiDAR systems reduce the size of current LiDAR implementations, allowing multiple LiDARs to work in tandem for forward view and side views of a vehicle.
2. Applied Materials Inc.
Applied Materials is a leading supplier of capital equipment used to manufacture semiconductors as well as liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. The company's technology is used to produce high-quality silicon wafers and to deposit microscopic circuitry on their surfaces.
In February 2023 the company showcased a patterning technology that helped chipmakers to create high-performance transistors and interconnect wiring with fewer EUV lithography steps, thereby lowering the cost, complexity, and environmental impact of advanced chipmaking.
3. ASE Technology Holding Co. Ltd.
ASE Technology is a Taiwan-based holding company that provides semiconductor assembly, packaging, and testing services. The company was created by the combination of Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. and Siliconware Precision Industries Co., Ltd.
The talent shortage in the semiconductor industry remains a top concern, according to executives from companies throughout the chip supply chain from design to manufacturing. To counter this talent crunch and adapt to diverse customer requirements, ASE is accelerating its adoption of smart manufacturing technologies including automation.
The Apple Inc supplier, which began investing in automated factories in 2015, planned to build 10 smart factories in 2022, reaching a total of 37 smart factories in Taiwan by the end of the year.
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4. ASML Holding N.V.
Based in the Netherlands, ASML is a leading supplier of advanced lithography systems used by chip manufacturers to add circuitry to silicon wafers. Its machines help chip makers use costly wafers as efficiently as possible and to improve the performance of their chips.
The demand for AI chips is expected to grow much faster than the overall semiconductor market – which is increasing opportunities for ASML. Allied Market Research estimates that the AI chip market could generate over USD263.6 billion in annual revenue by 2031 compared to just USD11.2 billion in 2021, clocking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37.1 %. For comparison, global semiconductor sales are anticipated to increase at 7 % a year through 2030 and exceed USD1 trillion in revenue, according to DigiTimes .
This ‘AI factor’ is driving demand for the chipmaking systems that produce smaller, faster, cheaper, more powerful and energy-efficient microchips. ASML’s extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines allow chipmakers to achieve these reductions. ASML's EUV machines can produce 7-nanometer (nm), 5nm, and 3nm chips in large volumes.
5. Broadcom Inc. (AVGO)
Broadcom supplies digital and analog semiconductors as well as software for networking, telecom, and data center markets. It provides interfaces for computers' Bluetooth connectivity, routers, switches, processors, and fiber optics.
In May 2022, Broadcom and VMware, Inc., a leading innovator in enterprise software, announced an agreement under which Broadcom will acquire all of the outstanding shares of VMware in a cash-and-stock transaction that values VMware at approximately USD61 billion, based on the closing price of Broadcom common stock on May 25, 2022.
VMware, a leading provider of multi-cloud services for all apps, pioneered virtualization technology, an innovation that positively transformed x86 server-based computing.
6. Intel Corp
Revenue (TTM): USD69.54b
Intel primarily develops processors for the personal computer (PC) and enterprise server markets. Its Client Computing Group segment supplying PC processors and Data Center Group segment serving enterprise customers including cloud services providers are its largest divisions. The remainder consists of internet-of-things (IoT) solutions for retail, industrial, and healthcare markets; memory and storage products; autonomous driving technology; and programmable semiconductors.
In February 2023, the company released a software platform for developers to build quantum algorithms that can eventually run on a quantum computer that the chip giant is trying to build. The platform, called Intel Quantum SDK, would for now allow those algorithms to run on a simulated quantum computing system.
7. Micron Technology Inc.
Micron Technology supplies memory chips including NAND flash products as well as rewritable disc storage solutions. Its products are used in computers, consumer electronics, automobiles, communications, and servers.
In October 2022 the company announced plans to invest as much as USD100 billion over the next 20 years to build a factory in upstate New York to boost US production of memory chips.
The announcement represents the largest private investment in New York state history, according to a statement from Boise, Idaho-based Micron.
8. Nvidia Corp.
Nvidia is a leading developer of graphics processors for personal computers and enterprise servers. These graphics processing units, or GPUs, provide high-end performance sought by cryptocurrency miners, computer gamers, and those who work with computer-aided design.
In February 2023, NVIDIA announced that they are developing a new AI-on-5G solution that combines 5G vRAN, edge AI and digital twin workloads on an all-in-one, hyperconverged and GPU-accelerated system.
This is to help telcos who are seeking industry-standard solutions that can run 5G, AI applications and immersive graphics workloads on the same server — including for computer vision and the metaverse.
The lower cost of ownership enabled by such a system would help telcos drive revenue growth in smart cities, as well as the retail, entertainment, and manufacturing industries, to support a multitrillion-dollar, 5G-enabled ecosystem.
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9. Qualcomm Inc.
Qualcomm is a global semiconductor and telecommunications company that designs and markets wireless communications products and services. Telecommunications companies worldwide use Qualcomm's patented CDMA (code division multiple access) technology, which has played an integral role in the development of wireless communications. Its Snapdragon chipsets are found in many mobile devices.
Qualcomm is pivoting to fully embrace the era of AI. The company recently spoke about OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT, calling it a milestone as well as an opportunity to showcase the capabilities of AI on smartphones, and establish Qualcomm as an AI company.
10. Taiwan Semiconductor Chip Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
Revenue (TTM): USD71.66 billion
TSMC created the semiconductor dedicated IC Foundry business model when it was founded in 1987. In 2022, TSMC served 532 customers and manufactured 12,698 products for various applications covering a variety of end markets including high performance computing, smartphones, the Internet of Things (IoT), automotive, and digital consumer electronics.
In December 2022, the company started mass production of its most advanced chips, based on 3-nanometre technology. Demand for these is driven by new technologies such as 5G and high-performance computing products.