The World 12 Largest Chip Producers
New Chip Manufacturing Plants in the USA
Samsung building 11 Semiconductor Chip-making plants in Texas.
Faz’Le A. Yousuf
TEXAS–Construction has already started on a $17 billion Samsung chip factory in Taylor, Texas. If a recent application is an indication, the South Korean electronics manufacturer is ready to invest a great deal more in the Austin area; the largest foreign direct investment in the State of Texas. Samsung has applied to the Texas comptroller that outlines a long-term plan to build up to 11 Texas chip-making plants in the coming decades. The plan calls for an investment of $192 billion. Plans call for nine of those plants to be constructed in Taylor, Texas and the other two in Austin, Texas.
The Intel Corporation building a new $20 billion factory outside of Columbus, Ohio.
Arizona also landed the first U.S. site of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which is building a $12 billion factory in north Phoenix.
How does semiconductor works?
A semiconductor substance lies between the conductor and insulator. It controls and manages the flow of electric current in electronic equipment and devices. The basic purpose of this circuit made on silicon, a half conductor, half insulator, is to alter the flow of electric current passing through it and provide binary signals that devices can use to process data. At the very minimal level, this is the contraption used to power a smart LED bulb in your house, and in its most sophisticated form, this technology enables autonomous driving vehicles and computers with processing powers unimagined a few decades ago. Its critical importance is in sustaining the infrastructure of every sector of the global economy. Drones, smart tractors in agricultural fields, data centers that process millions of gigabytes of data, and the latest smartphone in your palm; all these devices use semiconductor chips as their ‘brains’.
As the pandemic changed population behaviors and led to a broader shift towards digital mediums for work and play, a surge in demand for smart devices led to a shortage of semiconductor chips, which was especially exacerbated by the supply chains already being disrupted because of the lockdowns. This affected product deliveries for smartphones, automobiles, and a range of electronics industries. Regardless of when supplies once again meet demand, the semiconductor industry is reaching new heights.
Smart Chip Market Current and Future Growth
According to Fortune Business Insights, they forecast the global semiconductor market to grow from $527.88 billion in 2021. The global semiconductor market is projected to grow from $573.44 billion in 2022 to $ 1,380.79 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 12.2% in forecast period, 2022-2029 to $1380.79 billion in 2029, at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 8.6%. The industry grew 21% in 2021 despite being fraught with supply issues, and according to market study, it will expand by 23% in 2022, with total semiconductor sales expected to increase 11% and reach a record valuation of more than $680 billion.
The semiconductor market analysis states that the top 25 companies in the chip-making business saw revenues climb significantly in 2021. Governments around the world recognize the significance of the semiconductor industry in protecting and advancing their national economic interests.
The US House of Representatives passed the America Competes Act in February, which aims to set aside $52 billion to boost the semiconductor industry in the United States. This is part of America’s plan to become self-reliant in the critical semiconductor industry and reassert itself over economic rival China. In August, President Joe Biden signed legislation providing $52 billion in government funding to boost semiconductor manufacturing and research and a 25% investment tax credit for chip plants estimated to be worth $24 billion. The government subsidies for chip manufacturing in the United States.
Spending by semiconductor companies has also seen a significant uptick in recent years as they aim to boost production. Intel Corporation plans to spend €80 billion in the European Union over the next ten years to boost its manufacturing footprint and create a resilient and diversified chip ecosystem on the continent. It will also spend €17 billion towards the construction of a semiconductor fab mega-site in Germany, where production expected to start by 2027. The world’s largest semiconductor foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited., plans to spend $40-$44 billion in capital expenditures in 2022, as compared to roughly $30 billion in 2021.
Advances in technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles and smartphones will rely on the power, stability and growth of the global semiconductor industry. Therefore, it would be wise to know which companies are among the biggest names in the game. Let’s look at list of top 12 semiconductor companies in the world.
The 12 biggest semiconductor manufacturers in the world
STMicroelectronics N.V. STM
Cap: $39.07 billion
STMicroelectronics N.V. is a Swiss company which manufactures semiconductor integrated circuits and discrete devices used by a range of industries around the world, including computing, telecommunications, industrial, and consumer electronics. The company’s revenue for 2021 stood at $12.76 billion, an increase of 24.88% from 2020. STMicroelectronics N.V. announced on March 9 that it has released new radiation-hardened ICs (integrated circuits) in low-cost plastic packages that would provide important functions for the electronic circuitry in low-cost satellites, which will deliver services such as earth observation and transmission of broadband internet from low-Earth orbits. On February 28, the company announced it was introducing the third generation of MEMS sensors, which will enable the next upgrade in performance and features for smartphones, and across a range of industries, including healthcare and retail. These sensors by STMicroelectronics N.V. can provide the highest accuracy for product features, including activity detection, indoor navigation, and precision industrial sensing.
NXP Semiconductors N.V.
Cap: $49.29 billion
NXP Semiconductors N.V. is a Dutch provider of semiconductor technology such as microcontrollers, application processors, gyroscopic sensors, and more. These products are used in car infotainment systems, smartphones and security applications. NXP Semiconductors N.V. provides its automotive radar technology to top automobile firms around the world, and the company can benefit as more cars around the world adapt ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems).
The Dutch company co-invented near field communication (NFC) technology in collaboration with Sony and Inside Secure, and we used its NFC chips in many devices to enable contactless payments. NXP Semiconductors N.V. also provides chip sets for use in electronic passports and RFID tags and labels, as well as technology for its MIFARE brand, which is currently deployed by several major public transit systems around the globe for automated fare collection.
NXP Semiconductors N.V. posted annual revenue of $11.06 billion for 2021, which was up 28.46% year-on-year. The firm generates almost half of its revenue from automotive chip sales, and could have a strong 2022 on the back of an expected improvement in car sales this year.
Lam Research Corporation
Cap: $76.27 billion
Lam Research Corporation is a California-based company which offers semiconductor processing equipment used in the fabrication of integrated circuits. As the global demand for semiconductor chips and microcontrollers goes up and companies invest billions in chip-making plants, companies such as the Lam Research Corporation that make semiconductor manufacturing equipment are set to enjoy steady growth. Even though the particular dynamics of the company’s offerings call for heavy investments into R&D to keep up with the times, Lam Research Corporation is one of the frontrunners in its segment, which has high barriers to entry, giving the company a dominant position that it seeks to maintain.
Some of the most prominent semiconductor manufacturers around the world, such as Micron Technology, Inc., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, and Samsung, are clients of Lam Research Corporation, with each company accounting for over 10% of Lam Research’s revenues.
Micron Technology, Inc.
Market Cap: $88.60 billion
Micron Technology, Inc. is a semiconductor firm specializing in memory products and storage solutions. The firm is a leader in DRAM products, which are dynamic random access memory semiconductor devices with a low latency that provide high-speed data retrieval; and NAND products, which are non-volatile and re-writeable semiconductor storage devices. As the world adapts 5G technology, Micron Technology, Inc. expected to benefit as smartphones with 5G capability have 50% higher DRAM and twice the NAND capability as compared to 4G smartphones. They also used products by the company in the automotive sector, the server and communications field, and in consumer electronics and computers around the world.
Micron Technology, Inc. partnered with Idaho Power to construct a 40-megawatt solar power project in Boise, Idaho near its corporate headquarters. This project is part of Micron’s sustainability and green energy goals, and will put the firm on the path towards using 100% renewable energy for its U.S operations by 2025.
Micron Technology, Inc. announced it was sampling the world’s first vertically integrated 176-layer NAND solid-state drive for data centers. The Micron 7450 SSD can meet the most demanding requirements of data center workloads with its NVMeTM, which delivers quality-of-service latency at or below 2 milliseconds, a wide capacity range and the broadest set of form factors available. This will allow Micron Technology, Inc. to respond to customers’ developing needs in the market, and support strengthened device security.
Applied Materials, Inc.
Market Cap: $118.55 billion
Applied Materials, Inc. is up next on our list of the biggest semiconductor companies in the world. It is based in California, and offers equipment used to build semiconductor chip technology. Applied Materials, Inc. provides chip manufacturing plants with manufacturing tools and process technologies used to build high-end displays and chip products. The company provides LCD fabrication equipment to the flat panel display industry, used by smartphones and television screens. It also makes and sells solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing systems to the solar industry. Its clients include Intel Corporation, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited and Samsung, among others.
Texas Instruments Incorporated
Cap: $166.54 billion
Texas Instruments Incorporated deals in the provision of analog chips, microcontrollers, multi-core processors, and embedded processors to clients around the world. They used these products for power and consumption management in many consumer electronics, such as personal computers and smartphones.
Based in Dallas, Texas Instruments Incorporated founded in 1930 and initially operated as an oil and gas company. It later switched to working for the defense industry, also producing products for the seismic industry. The firm started working primarily in the semiconductor industry in 1958 and later sold its defense segment to Raytheon Technologies Corp in 1997. Texas Instruments Incorporated produced the world’s first silicon transistor in 1954, and also developed the world’s first pocket transistor radio during the same year. Its list of inventions also includes the hand-held calculator and the single-chip microcontroller. The firm currently owns tens of thousands of technological patents around the globe.
Texas Instruments Incorporated also produce chips, sensors, and radars for vehicle safety systems, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) technology currently deployed by top automobile makers around the world.
Cap: $177.63 billion
QUALCOMM, Incorporated is behind the Snapdragon chipsets found in many smartphones around the world, and its patented CDMA (code division multiple access) technology is an integral part of the global wireless communications industry, especially 4G and 5G infrastructure. The California-based firm sells semiconductors to be used in a wide range of products such as autonomous vehicles, smart watches, laptops and wi-fi technology. QUALCOMM, Incorporated supplies semiconductor chips to smartphone giants Samsung and Apple, as well as Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, LG Electronics and Sony. Qualcomm currently supplies Apple with modem chips for all its devices, though the company predicts it may soon provide only 20% of Apple’s requirements as the iPhone-maker looks to self-supply modem chips. Still, QUALCOMM, Incorporated believes that even when excluding sales to Apple, its growth in smartphones will be faster than the overall market, given its relationship with high-end phone-makers such as Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo.
Along with Smart Chip Market Current and Future Growth Corporation, Intel Corporation and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited; QUALCOMM, Incorporated, is one of the largest semiconductor companies in the world.
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Market Cap: $186.79 billion
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. makes graphic processing chips, microprocessors, motherboard chipsets, and embedded processors for personal computers, servers, and workstations. Its major clients include Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo, and Dell. In November 2021, the firm also signed Meta Platforms Inc. as a customer for its EPYC data center chips, which are used for high-performance functions such as cloud computing or inside large enterprises, and which cut power usage by around 25%.
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. unveiled the world’s most advanced desktop gaming processor, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor, which delivers 15% more gaming performance compared to processors without stacked cache technology. In 2022, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. plans to launch the 5nm Zen 4 CPUs, which could include an integrated RDNA 2 GPU, to allow AMD to compete against Intel and Nvidia in CPUs and GPUs simultaneously. In the first half of 2022, industry analysts expect Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. to continue to take market share from rival Intel in server chips.
Market Cap: $197.00 billion
Intel Corporation is a chip-maker based in California which develops computer processors, graphic cards, motherboard chipsets, and other related computing products. Its list of major clients includes HP, Dell and Lenovo. The firm also created the world’s first metal oxide semiconductor and is behind the x86 microprocessors which are used by most personal computer devices.
Intel Corporation announced it would invest over €80 billion in the European Union over the next ten years, in order to bring the most advanced tech to Europe and create a next-gen European chip ecosystem, whilst also addressing the requirement for a more diversified and resilient supply chain. Under this plan, €17 billion will spent towards the development of a semiconductor fab mega-site in Germany, which will also subsidized by public funding. This site will see construction begin by 2023 and production start by 2027. Intel will also create a new R&D and design hub in France, and invest in various business endeavors in Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain. Intel Corporation agreed to acquire the Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 billion.
The Israeli firm is a leading foundry for analog semiconductor solutions, and its acquisition will help Intel become a major provider of foundry capacity around the world.
Intel Corporation launched a fully vertical, standalone foundry business called Intel Foundry Services (IFS) in March 2021, as part of its vision to become a major provider of semiconductor foundry services in the U.S and Europe. Intel plans to tap into the Foundry business, which will have a $100 billion addressable market by 2025, to diversify semiconductor foundry manufacturing capacity away from Asia to ensure a secure and sustainable supply chain for the United States and the rest of the world.
Market Cap: $249.60 billion
Broadcom Inc. The California-based firm offers a diverse portfolio of semiconductor and software products that are used in wireless connectivity systems, routers, processors, fiber optics, and data center switches. The firm also provides set-top box system-on-chips (SoCs) and fiber channel networking products used in data centers. Broadcom Inc. deals in infrastructure software solutions which are used by enterprises to build, manage, and secure complex digital ecosystems. The major clients of Broadcom Inc. include IBM, Linksys, Logitech, Dell and Cisco Systems, along with many others.
Next-generation servers. Broadcom’s switches and custom silicon products known as PCIe Gen 5.0 SerDes are now available to cloud providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and original design manufacturers (ODM) and are currently undergoing testing for wide-scale interoperability.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited.
Market Cap: $533.22 billion
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited is the largest semiconductor foundry in the world, making chips for the biggest global tech companies. The Taiwanese firm is a pure-play foundry and known as the ‘backbone’ of the semiconductor industry, as companies including Apple, Intel, Qualcomm and NVIDIA outsource their chip manufacturing to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited.
In January, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited outlined plans to spend a record $40-$44 billion in capital expenditures for 2022, up from around $30 billion in 2021. This will further solidify its position as the largest foundry in the world. In 2021, TSMC saw its revenues generated by sales to Apple increase 20% year-on-year to reach $14.3 billion, approximately 26% of the firm’s total wafer revenue for the year. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited. will also manufacture Apple’s new M1 Ultra SoC chip using a 5nm process node and advanced packaging technology. It supplies industry-leading 5 nano-metro chips to Apple and is working on introducing a 3nm chip by 2023.
Automotive firms also outsource their chip manufacturing to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, and these orders expected to rise at a faster-than-previously predicted pace. TSMC’s dominant position in the market will see it attract orders for AI chips used in autonomous driving from companies such as Tesla, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Intel. In the 7/5nm foundry process segment, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited has commanded a market share exceeding 90%.
Market Cap: $665.75 billion
NVIDIA Corporation deals in the provision of graphic processing units (GPUs) to consumers for high-performance computer usages such as gaming, design and editing. The crypto boom has also led to more people using NVIDIA’s graphic cards to mine cryptocurrencies. The firm’s portfolio of computing products includes the Quadro series of video cards for professional graphics, the Tegra series used in cellular phones, and the nForce series for multimedia functions.
As the metaverse hype picks up, NVIDIA Corporation is the forefront beneficiary of this trend as computers use bigger graphic chips to simulate digital worlds in complex detail. The firm is also supplying the main ‘brain’ chip for use by NIO’s new electric vehicle called ET7. The Chinese automaker expected to release the highly autonomous EV in the first quarter of 2022. NVIDIA Corporation also unveiled its own CPU called Grace in April, enabling it to directly challenge CPU giants such as Intel and AMD for CPU market share. Amazon uses NVIDIA chips in its Amazon Web Services data centers as well.
History, Invention of Semiconductor & Chip
The birth history of semiconductors can traced back to the invention of the rectifier (AC-DC converter) in 1874. Decades later, Bardeen and Brattain at Bell Laboratories in the US invented the point-contact transistor in 1947, and Shockley invented the junction transistor in 1948. This heralded the transistor era.
In 1946, the University of Pennsylvania in the US built a computer using the vacuum tubes. The computer was so large that its vacuum tubes occupied the entire building, and it consumed a huge amount of electricity and produced a lot of heat. Later, the innovative transistor calculator (computer) developed, and since then, computers have grown by leaps and bounds. In 1956, the Nobel Prize in Physics awarded jointly to Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain for their contribution to semiconductor research and the development of the transistor.
The semiconductor industry grew, pursuing the invention of the transistor. In 1957, it already exceeded the scale of 100 million dollars. In 1959, the bipolar integrated circuit (ICs) invented by Kilby of Texas Instruments and Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor in the US. This invention had a major impact on the history of semiconductors, and it marked the dawn of the IC era. Being small, it widely used the IC in a variety of electric appliances.
In 1967, Texas Instruments developed the electronic desktop calculator (the calculator) using IC. In Japan, electronic equipment manufacturers released calculators one after another, and fierce “calculator wars” continued until the end of the 1970s. IC integration advanced and the large-scale integrated circuit (LSI) developed. The technologies continue to advance. The VLSI (from 100 thousand to 10 million electronic components per chip) developed in the 1980s, and the ULSI (over 10 million electronic components per chip) developed in the 1990s. In the 2000s, the system LSI (a multifunction LSI with multiple functions integrated into a single chip) was put into full-scale production. As IC progresses toward high performance and multiple functions, its field of application is expanding broadly. Semiconductors are now used in every corner of our society and support everyday life.
Who invented a semiconductor? Karl Ferdinand Braun developed the crystal detector, the first semiconductor device, in 1874.
When was the semiconductor chips invented? Robert Noyce invented the first monolithic integrated circuit chip at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1959. It was made from silicon and fabricated using Jean Hoerni’s planar process and Mohamed Atalla’s surface passivation process. Robert Norton Noyce, nicknamed “the Mayor of Silicon Valley”, was an American physicist and entrepreneur who co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel Corporation in 1968.
Infineon Technologies is a world leader in semiconductor solutions that make life easier, safer and greener. Around the globe, teams of research and development experts are working on innovative answers to the global challenges of our time, addressing issues such as rapid population growth, the rise of megacities and the increasing scarcity of natural resources. Microelectronics are the key to supplying the world’s expanding population with energy, meeting demands for higher living standards and minimizing our impact on the environment. Microelectronics are also paving the way for smart mobility concepts, efficient energy management and the secured storage and transmission of data. Whether we are aware of it or not, countless everyday experiences and transactions are controlled by highly sophisticated microelectronic systems. These small, almost invisible microchips are already an integral part of our lives.