Understanding the Semiconductor Value Chain: Key Players & Dynamics

1 minutes reading time
Published 5 Oct 2023
Reviewed by: Oliver Hamrin
Updated 21 Mar 2024

The semiconductor industry forms the backbone of our technologically driven world. From smartphones to cars, these minuscule components power a vast array of electronic devices. Given the complexity of this space, we’ve distilled its intricacies into an infographic, spotlighting the semiconductor value chain and its major players.

Semiconductor Value Chain and Supply Chain, Key Companies in the Semiconductor Industry
Visualization over the Semiconductor Value Chain, updated October 2023

As a complement to this infographic, let’s address some common questions about the actors in the semiconductor value chain:

What Are Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturers?

Semiconductor equipment manufacturers are specialized companies that design, produce, and sell machinery and tools essential for semiconductor production. This equipment is crucial for the fabrication and testing of semiconductor devices, such as transistors, capacitors, and integrated circuits. As the semiconductor industry advances, these manufacturers play a pivotal role in enabling newer, more efficient technologies. Their contributions are fundamental to the continuous miniaturization and increased performance of electronic devices we use daily.

Leading Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturers

  • Applied Materials: The biggest name in semiconductor equipment, Applied Materials provides manufacturing solutions for the semiconductor, flat panel display, and solar photovoltaic industries.

  • ASML: Holding a unique position as the sole supplier of photolithography machines used in ultrafine chip manufacturing.

  • Lam Research: Focusing on the design, manufacture, marketing, and service of semiconductor processing equipment.

  • Tokyo Electron: This company provides various products for flat panel displays and photovoltaic cells apart from semiconductor production.

  • KLA: Specializes in process control and yield management solutions, ensuring the quality and efficiency of the semiconductor devices.

What Are Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Companies?

Electronic Design Automation (EDA) companies provide software tools, techniques, and methodologies for designing and producing electronic systems, from integrated circuits to printed circuit boards. These tools enable engineers and designers to visualize, simulate, and analyze the performance of electronic circuits before they are physically manufactured. EDA solutions are crucial in optimizing design accuracy, reducing time-to-market, and ensuring the reliability of electronic devices.

Leading EDA Companies

  • Cadence: A pivotal player offering software, hardware, services, and reusable IC design blocks.

  • Synopsys: Provides tools and services for designing chips and electronic systems.

  • Mentor Graphics (a Siemens Business): Focuses on solutions that enable companies to develop better electronic products faster and more cost-effectively.

  • ANSYS: Offers engineering simulation software that predicts how product designs will behave in real-world environments.

  • Keysight Technologies: Deals in electronic design & test solutions.

Quartr Pro is revolutionizing professional public market research

Request a personal demo to learn why Quartr Pro is quickly being adopted by leading asset managers, hedge funds, investor relations departments, and sell-side analysts worldwide.


What Are Foundry Companies?

Foundry companies manufacture chips for design firms. Instead of designing their own semiconductors, these design firms hand over their designs to foundries, which then turn these designs into physical chips. Essentially, foundries serve as the “factories” of the semiconductor world. As electronics increase rapidly and chip designs become more complex, foundries have become an integral component of the technology supply chain, allowing for efficient production without the overhead of owning manufacturing facilities.

Leading Semiconductor Foundries

What Are Fabless Semiconductor Companies?

Fabless semiconductor companies focus on the design and development of semiconductor chips, but they don’t have their own manufacturing facilities or foundries to produce the physical chips. Instead, they outsource the actual production to specialized foundry companies as mentioned above. By operating without in-house manufacturing operations, fabless companies can reduce capital expenditures and concentrate on chip design and innovation. This allows them to stay agile, quickly adapt to market changes, and leverage the manufacturing expertise of dedicated foundries for chip production.

Leading Semiconductor Fabless Companies

  • NVIDIA: Best known for its Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and AI.

  • Qualcomm: Specializes in wireless telecommunications products.

  • Broadcom: Designs semiconductors and software that accelerate storage and networking in data centers.

  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): Known for its CPUs and GPUs.

  • MediaTek: A prominent name in chipsets for mobile phones.

What Are Integrated Device Manufacturers (IDMs)?

IDMs handle both the design and production of chips in-house. Unlike fabless companies, IDMs own and operate their manufacturing facilities, or fabs, allowing them to oversee the entire chip-making process from design to fabrication. This integrated approach gives them greater control over production, quality assurance, and supply chain dynamics. Having both design and manufacturing under one roof can lead to faster iterations, potential cost savings, and a more synchronized approach to innovation and production.

Leading Integrated Device Manufacturers

  • Intel: A global leader known primarily for its central processing units (CPUs).

  • Texas Instruments: Renowned for its diversified semiconductor solutions and analog integrated circuits.

  • Samsung Electronics: A major player in memory, storage, and mobile application processors.

  • STMicroelectronics: Specializes in various semiconductor solutions, including microcontrollers and sensors.

  • Infineon: Recognized for its power semiconductors and chip solutions for automotive and industrial electronics.

What Are Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test (OSAT) Companies?

OSAT companies specialize in providing third-party packaging and testing services for semiconductor manufacturers. Once chips are manufactured, they must be assembled into packages that can be integrated into devices and tested for functionality. This is where OSAT companies come in. Rather than semiconductor manufacturers handling these steps in-house, they often outsource this post-manufacturing process to specialized OSAT firms. This collaborative ecosystem ensures that chipmakers can focus on design and core manufacturing while relying on the expertise of OSAT providers for efficient, high-quality assembly and testing.

Leading OSAT Companies

The Fastest Growers in the Semiconductor Universe

We love visualizing things as you probably know by now. This infographic visualizes the companies in the semiconductor industry and their 5-year EPS CAGRs.

Semiconductor Universe - 5-year EPS CAGR
Semiconductor Universe - 5-year EPS CAGR

In Conclusion

The semiconductor value chain is a complex web of manufacturers, designers, and service providers. While names like NVIDIA and Taiwan Semiconductor might grab headlines, it's essential to understand the entire ecosystem to appreciate the industry's intricacies. Our infographic, capturing these dynamics, highlights the roles of various players and the linkage fueling our digital world.

Why are finance professionals around the world choosing Quartr Pro?

With a broad global customer base spanning from equity analysts, portfolio managers, to IR departments, the reasons naturally vary, but here are four that we often hear:

Increase productivity

Eliminate hours of searching for specific data points buried deep inside company material.

Get a one-stop-shop solution

Everything you need for qualitative public market research in one single platform.

Uncover rare insights

Understand the qualitative aspects of entire industries or specific companies.

Leverage the power of AI

Incorporate AI functionality into your daily workflow.