This Encyclopedia of Semiconductor Companies lists the most relevant semiconductor companies in the world. Important data about their history and operations is also provided. Companies are sorted alphabetically, and shortcuts are provided for each letter:
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
AMD is Intel’s main rival in x86 architecture processors for PCs and data centers, and Nvidia’s main rival in graphics cards.
On the one hand, when it comes to processors, Intel has traditionally been superior to AMD in technical specifications. However, nowadays, AMD has allied with TSMC and its better manufacturing node while Intel’s foundry technology has “lagged” behind TSMC. In this way, AMD is able to offer microprocessors with equal or better performance per watt than Intel.
On the other hand, with respect to graphics cards, Nvidia is still superior to AMD in performance per watt consumed. However, AMD has become the world leader in processor + graphics card solutions in the same integrated unit (so-called APU solutions). These elements are the core of most game consoles (such as PS4, PS5, or Xbox Series).
Applied Materials Inc.
It specializes in materials engineering and is the undisputed leader in its sector. Applied Materials supplies materials, equipment and services for the manufacture of semiconductor chips, flat panel displays (for TVs, monitors and cell phones), and solar products.
ASML is the leading supplier of integrated circuit mass production machinery. ASML’s technology includes photolithography equipment as well as verification hardware and software. As a result, its main customers are semiconductor foundries.
Broadcom is the name under which the combined Avago Technologies plus Broadcom operates following the acquisition of the latter by the former.
The company specializes primarily in broadband communications circuits: AD and DA converters, electro-optical transceivers, modulation and demodulation, high-speed front-ends, and physical layer interfaces for communications standards.
In addition, it also supplies semiconductors for security, storage and industrial applications as varied as automotive, energy and medical.
Camtek is a developer and manufacturer of high-end inspection and metrology equipment for the semiconductor industry. In particular, Camtek’s systems are capable of quickly detecting errors in circuits fabricated on silicon wafers throughout the entire production chain. In this way, only correctly fabricated circuits are delivered to the customer.
Intel created the first microprocessor in history in 1971. These microprocessors, with x86 architecture, are the basic core of most computers. Consequently, with the proliferation of personal computers, Intel acquired a dominant position that has lasted for decades.
Today Intel remains a major player in the microprocessor market (for PCs, data centers, low-power applications, and IoT). It also directly or indirectly markets notebooks and mini-computers. Importantly, unlike most of its competitors, Intel manufactures its semiconductor circuits in its own foundries.
Finally, Intel is also diversified with applications in other business lines such as FPGAs (acquired Altera), graphics processing, memory, and photonics mainly.
Mediatek is a Taiwanese company dedicated to the design of integrated circuits for various applications: wireless communications, image and TV, Internet of Things, or optical storage.
But in practice, where Mediatek stands out is in the market of processors for mobile devices. Its integrated circuits, commercially known as Helio, compete directly against the most advanced solutions on the market, such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon. In that sense, the vast majority of Chinese generic mobile manufacturers use the Mediatek Helio as the core of their products.
Micron is a leader in memory components and modules. These include mainly DDR RAM memory for computers and data centers, LPRAM for low-power applications and NAND Flash memory for solid-state hard drives. The RAM memory modules and solid-state hard drives it manufactures, with its own semiconductor components, are marketed under the Crucial Technology and Lexar brand names.
Nvidia is the world leader in graphics cards, used both in video games (Geforce series) and professional image processing (Quadro series).
In the gaming sector, it also offers image synchronization solutions for monitors (G-Sync), video game streaming (GeForce Now), Android TV solutions (Nvidia Shield) and processors that also include graphics acceleration (Nvidia Tegra).
Nvidia is also widely diversified and has a presence in many other applications such as artificial intelligence, cloud processing, data centers and autonomous cars. It is worth noting that it acquired ARM, gaining a dominant position in low-power processors. It also acquired Melanox, which specializes in communications hardware for data centers.
Qualcomm has been a leader in the development and implementation of new mobile communications standards (CDMA, LTE, 5G). It is especially known for its Snapdragon microprocessors and semiconductor line, which are at the core of a significant percentage of cell phones.
Samsung Electronics is a consumer electronics giant that manufactures all kinds of devices (panels and TVs, cell phones, hard drives, printers, speakers and cameras among others).
The most relevant thing is that it not only designs its own semiconductors, but also has its own foundry. Among the integrated circuits it designs and manufactures are: all types of memory, mobile device processors (known as Exynos) and radio frequency solutions in the consumer electronics bands. Samsung’s foundry also manufactures for fabless semiconductor companies (e.g. Nvidia), adding another important contribution to the company’s turnover.
SK Hynix, of South Korean origin, is one of the world’s leading memory suppliers. Consequently, its portfolio includes memory for all applications: computing, graphics, mobile devices, consumer and professional electronics, and solid-state hard drives.
Texas Instruments (TI) is a manufacturer of semiconductors used in multiple applications. Hence its relevance in the industry as a major player.
In the analog branch, they cover practically any industry, including sectors as varied as audio, sensors or motors. They also have semiconductors for radio frequency applications, from wireless connectivity to space and high reliability applications.
In the digital branch they also have very relevant products such as microcontrollers, ARM-based microprocessors, and DSPs.
Finally, it is worth mentioning its AD and DA converter technology, among the most competitive in the market.
TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Company)
TSMC is the world’s leading semiconductor foundry. It was the first to use a 5nm node. It serves as a foundry for hundreds of semiconductor companies that lack them (called fabless) and manufactures thousands of different integrated circuit codes per year.