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Chart: The Largest Companies by Market Cap Over 15 Years

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Chart: The Largest Companies by Market Cap Over 15 Years

Chart: The Largest Companies by Market Cap Over 15 Years

The Oil Barons have been replaced by the Whiz Kids of Silicon Valley

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

By definition, the largest companies by market cap are the most valued by investors in absolute terms.

Of course, these companies change all the time. Secular trends rise and fall, and economic cycles rinse and repeat. New companies are built, while former “blue chips” may struggle. For every Enron that busts, there’s an Amazon shooting up through the ranks.

At the end of the day, however, a snapshot of the largest companies at a given time tells us what the market valued the most. And as this week’s chart shows, this simple data series can also tell us a surprising amount about the macroeconomic story over recent years.

Energy Downturn, Tech Upturn

In 2001, oil was about $30/bbl. Only one oil company (Exxon) cracked the top five list by market cap at the time.

Fast forward a decade, when oil prices soared to the $100/bbl neighborhood. At this point, three of five of the largest companies by market cap were now in the oil business: Exxon, PetroChina, and Royal Dutch Shell.

And today? We are back at $40/bbl and no energy companies crack the top five. Instead, the list has been completely replaced by tech companies, including Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Scale is in Style

Well, scale has always been in style, but now it is achievable in ways like never before. To reach more people, Walmart had to build more stores, expand complex supply chains, and hire new employees. This takes a lot of capital and manpower, and the stakes are high for each new expansion.

Amazon on the other hand, can bring in more revenues with less of the work or risk involved. Scale allows tech companies to get bigger without getting bogged down by many of the problems that companies with millions of employees can run into.

The world’s best tech companies are also able to gain competitive advantages that are extremely difficult to supplant. While oil companies are fighting over a limited supply and have a commoditized end product, Google and Facebook have key businesses that are truly unique and the best at what they do.

For these reasons, tech is likely to top the leaderboard for the largest companies by market cap for the foreseeable future.

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Ranked: Largest Semiconductor Foundry Companies by Revenue

Most of the 10 largest semiconductor foundries in the world, are headquartered in just three Asian countries, accounting for 90% of the entire industry’s revenue.

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A cropped chart showing the largest semiconductor foundry companies by their percentage of global revenues in Q1 2023.

Ranked: Largest Semiconductor Foundry Companies by Revenue

They’re in our phones, cars, planes, and even fridges.

Semiconductor chips have become critical for the modern way of life, and the biggest semiconductor foundry companies rake in billions of dollars from widespread demand.

This chart shows the largest semiconductor foundry companies by their percentage of global revenues in Q1 2023, using data sourced from Trendforce.

ℹ️ We highlight data for companies that only operate foundries (fabrication plants) that manufacture chips for clients, also known as a “pure-play” foundries, as well as companies that design and manufacture their own chips, known as integrated device manufacturers. “Fabless” manufacturers that only design and don’t manufacture their own chips are not included.

Semiconductor Foundry Companies by Revenue

At the top of the list and dwarfing every other company by revenue share is TSMC which earned 60% (or nearly $17 billion) of the entire industry’s revenue in Q1 2023.

Founded in 1987, TSMC is a pure-play foundry that has become Taiwan’s largest company and manufactures products for a host of clients including Apple, NVIDIA, and AMD.

RankCompanyCountryRevenue
(Q1 2023, USD)
1TSMC🇹🇼 Taiwan$16,735M
2Samsung🇰🇷 South Korea$3,446M
3GlobalFoundries🇺🇸 US$1,841M
4UMC🇹🇼 Taiwan$1,784M
5SMIC🇨🇳 China$1,462M
6HuaHong Group🇨🇳 China$845M
7Tower Semiconductor🇮🇱 Israel$356M
8PSMC🇹🇼 Taiwan$332M
9VIS🇹🇼 Taiwan$269M
10DB Hitek🇰🇷 South Korea$234M
Other$556M
Global Total$27,860M

Note: Revenue based on the following conversion rates: USD 1 = WON 1,276; USD 1 = NTD 30.4.

Well behind TSMC in foundry revenues is integrated device manufacturer Samsung, the biggest company in South Korea, which made $3.4 billion (12.4% of the industry’s revenue) from its semiconductor manufacturing business.

GlobalFoundries from the U.S., UMC from Taiwan and SMIC from China round out the top five, with each taking home around 6% of industry’s revenue share in Q1 2023. The former spun out from AMD’s manufacturing arm when the company went fabless in 2009.

Industry concentration is apparent in semiconductors. For example, the top 10 semiconductor foundry companies account for 98% of the entire industry’s revenue. Furthermore, 90% of the market is dominated by companies in just three Asian countries: Taiwan, South Korea, and China.

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