Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
show image

GlobalData Technology

Providing actionable insight into the technology industry

Why Nvidia, Google, Apple and Tesla are tipped to lead the AI chip race

GlobalData has used its exclusive theme-based analysis to identify the semiconductor companies which are best placed to succeed in the future based on their strength in artificial intelligence (AI).

AI has been identified by GlobalData as one of the top ten themes that will impact the semiconductor sector over the next two years.

The other nine are: high-performance computing, data centres, ambient commerce, self-driving cars, industrial internet, gaming, 5G, mergers and acquisitions, and geopolitics.

The semiconductor companies given the highest thematic weighting by GlobalData for AI are: Nvidia, Google, Apple, Tesla, Xilinx, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, AMD, ASML, Baidu, Rohm, Graphcore and Cambricon.

GlobalData’s thematic research team has developed a “thematic engine” which is designed to identify tomorrow’s tech leaders rather than today’s tech incumbents, based on their competitive position in the most important themes impacting their industry, such as AI.

The GlobalData thematic engine spans 15 key technology sectors – from semiconductors to consumer electronics to enterprise software – and covers over 60 themes.

What does AI mean for the semiconductor sector? 

AI systems need to process massive amounts of data very quickly. While the performance of general-purpose chips has improved sufficiently to kick-start a new generation of AI technology, they cannot keep up with the dramatic growth in the AI sector, along with the accompanying exponential increase in the volume of data that AI systems process.

This has given rise to the advent of hardware-based acceleration via algorithmic-specific chips such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and graphics processing units (GPUs) that allow developers to explore lucrative but resource-intensive use cases such as real-time facial recognition, automobile collision avoidance or responsive marketing.

There is a high degree of specialisation among available acceleration chip architectures, each focusing on solving performance problems specific to different use cases, deployment environments, and even phases of the AI application lifecycle (modelling, training, inference, optimisation, etc.). This specialisation and the popularity of AI itself has led to an arms race among chip manufacturers seeking to solve both narrow and wide AI problems on mobile devices, at the network edge, in the data center and on the public cloud platform.

The world’s most important semiconductor companies

The full universe of 57 semiconductor companies covered by GlobalData’s Semiconductor Sector Scorecard are:

  1. Aixtron
  2. Alibaba
  3. Alphabet
  4. Amazon
  5. AMD
  6. AMS
  7. Analog Devices
  8. Apple
  9. ASML Holding
  10. Baidu
  11. Barefoot Networks
  12. Broadcom
  13. Cambricon
  14. Cirrus Logic
  15. Cypress
  16. Dialog
  17. Diodes
  18. Graphcore
  19. Himax
  20. IBM
  21. Infineon
  22. Intel
  23. Marvell
  24. Maxim
  25. MediaTek
  26. Melexis
  27. Mellanox
  28. Microchip
  29. Micron
  30. Microsoft
  31. Monolithic Power Systems
  32. Nanya Tech
  33. Nvidia
  34. NXP
  35. On Semiconductor
  36. Qorvo
  37. Qualcomm
  38. Realtek Semiconductor
  39. Renesas
  40. Rohm
  41. Samsung Electronics
  42. Silicon Labs
  43. Silicon Motion
  44. SK Hynix
  45. Skyworks
  46. SMIC
  47. Softbank
  48. STMicroelectronics
  49. Teradyne
  50. Tesla
  51. Texas Instruments
  52. Tokyo Electron
  53. TSMC
  54. UMC
  55. Vanguard
  56. Xilinx
  57. Zeno

GlobalData’s full thematic methodology is available here. GlobalData is part of the same group as NS Tech.