The Top 10 Semiconductor Companies by Market Share
Semiconductors are an essential component of the microchips that power virtually every modern electronic device. As the objects around us get “smarter” and demand for electronics grows around the world, the demand for semiconductors will continue to skyrocket.
So, which companies currently make these chips, and where are they located?
The above infographic uses data from TrendForce to break down the top 10 semiconductor companies by country and market share.
The Biggest Semiconductor Companies
Before diving into the companies, it’s important to have context on their business. Also known as foundries, these semiconductor companies specialize in the fabrication or production of chips. “Fabless” chip makers—companies that design their chips and supply hardware but do not have fabrication plants—outsource chip production to foundries, primarily in Asia.
Taiwan, China, and South Korea combine for roughly 87% of the global foundry market. Here’s how it breaks down:
|Samsung||17%||South Korea 🇰🇷|
|HH Grace||1%||China 🇨🇳|
|DB HiTek||1%||China 🇨🇳|
|Tower Semiconductor||1%||Israel 🇮🇱|
TSMC, short for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, is by far the world’s largest chip manufacturer. It’s also the sixth most valuable company in the world with a market cap of over $600 billion, and supplies chips to the likes of Apple, Intel, and Nvidia.
TSMC and Samsung are the only companies capable of producing today’s most advanced 5-nanometer chips that go into iPhones. However, the Taiwanese company is one step ahead and set to produce its 3-nanometer chips in 2022, offering the most advanced foundry technology.
Other companies on the list include China’s largest chipmaker SMIC, one of the 60 Chinese companies blacklisted by the U.S. in 2020. On a country level, Taiwan accounts for 63% of the foundry market, followed by South Korea with 18%. In both countries, the majority of the market share belongs to a single company.
The 2021 Semiconductor Shortage
With the adoption of 5G devices and other new technologies, chips have been in high demand.
While pandemic-induced shutdowns have hampered supply, the demand for chips has continued surging with reopening economies. The resulting chip shortage has rattled several industries with lead times—the gap between when a semiconductor is ordered and when it is delivered is at a record high of 22 weeks.
The chip shortage is a boon to semiconductor companies, but downstream firms are struggling. Global automakers are set to make 7.7 million fewer cars in 2021, which translates into a $210 billion hit to their revenues. Consumer electronics have taken a blow as well, with popular products like the Playstation 5 console in short supply.
New chip factories take years to build, in addition to billions of dollars. With many analysts expecting the shortage to last through 2023, it’ll be interesting to see how chipmakers respond, especially if demand continues to rise.
How People Around the World Feel About Their Economic Prospects
In many of the world’s largest economies, including the U.S., Germany, and China, optimism around economic prospects sits at an all-time low.
How Countries Feel About Their Economic Prospects
Each year, the Edelman Trust Barometer report helps gauge the level of trust people place in various systems of power.
The report is also a useful tool to gauge the general mood in countries around the world—and when it comes to how people in developed economies feel about the near future, there’s a very clear answer: pessimistic. In fact, optimism about respondents’ economic prospects fell in the majority of countries surveyed.
Here’s a full look how many respondents in 28 countries feel they and their families will be doing better over the next five years. Or, put more simply, what percentage of people are optimistic about their economic circumstances?
|Country||% who are optimistic||All-time low?||Change from 2021 (p.p.)|
|🇰🇷 South Korea||39%||+6|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||66%||-2|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||73%||0|
Interestingly, nine countries (those with checkmarks above) are polling at all-time lows for economic optimism in survey history.
Whose Glass is Half Empty?
Japanese respondents were the most pessimistic, with only 15% seeing positive economic prospects in the near term. Only 18% of French respondents were economically optimistic.
While most developed economies were slightly more optimistic than Japan and France, all are still well below the global average.
As tensions between China and the U.S. continue to heat up in 2022, there is one thing that can unite citizens in the two countries—a general feeling that economic prospects are souring. As the U.S. heads into midterm elections and China’s 20th National Party Congress takes place, leaders in both countries will surely have the economy on their minds.
Whose Glass is Half Full?
Of course, the mood isn’t all doom and gloom everywhere. The United Arab Emirates saw a 6 percentage point (p.p.) jump in their population’s economic prospects.
Indonesia saw an 11 p.p. increase, and in big developing economies like Brazil and India, the general level of optimism is still quite high.
In some ways, it’s no surprise that people in developing economies are more optimistic about their economic prospects. Living standards are generally rising in many of these countries, and more opportunities open up as the economy grows. Even in the most pessimistic African country surveyed, South Africa, the majority of people still see improving circumstances in their near future. In Kenya and Nigeria, an overwhelming majority are optimistic.
One major prediction that experts agreed on for the year ahead is that economic outcomes will begin to diverge between countries with differing levels of vaccine access.
While this doesn’t seem to have affected attitudes towards economic optimism yet, it remains to be seen how this will play out as the year progresses.
The Accelerating Frequency of Extreme Weather
Extreme weather events, like droughts and heatwaves, have become more common over the years. But things are expected to get worse.
The Accelerating Frequency of Extreme Weather
The world is already witnessing the effects of climate change.
A few months ago, the western U.S. experienced one of the worst droughts it’s seen in the last 20 years. At the same time, southern Europe roasted in an extreme heatwave, with temperatures reaching 45°C in some parts.
But things are only expected to get worse in the near future. Here’s a look at how much extreme climate events have changed over the last 200 years, and what’s to come if global temperatures keep rising.
A Century of Warming
The global surface temperature has increased by about 1°C since the 1850s. And according to the IPCC, this warming has been indisputably caused by human influence.
As the global temperatures have risen, the frequency of extreme weather events have increased along with it. Heatwaves, droughts and extreme rainstorms used to happen once in a decade on average, but now:
- Heatwaves are 2.8x more frequent
- Droughts are 1.7x more frequent
- Extreme rainstorms are 1.3x more frequent
By 2030, the global surface temperature is expected to rise 1.5°C above the Earth’s baseline temperature, which means that:
- Heatwaves would be 4.1x more frequent
- Droughts would be 2x more frequent
- Extreme rainstorms would be 1.5x more frequent
The Ripple Effects of Extreme Weather
Extreme weather events have far-reaching impacts on communities, especially when they cause critical system failures.
Mass infrastructure breakdowns during Hurricane Ida this year caused widespread power outages in the state of Louisiana that lasted for several days. In 2020, wildfires in Syria devastated hundreds of villages and injured dozens of civilians with skin burns and breathing complications.
As extreme weather events continue to increase in frequency, and communities become increasingly more at risk, sound infrastructure is becoming more important than ever.
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