Technological advances in the electronic industry continue to revolutionize communication and access to information like never before. The companies that design and produce the devices that keep people connected are some of the most profitable and valuable in the world. Industry behemoths such as Apple, Samsung and IBM are some of the most recognizable brands, but many less-familiar companies are experiencing rapid growth under the radar, or by simply riding the coattails of the top companies.
1) Apple Inc.
Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has been at the forefront of the computer hardware industry since its founding in 1976 by Steve Jobs , Steve Wozniak and Gerald Wayne. Its hardware products include Mac personal computers, iPod portable media players, iPad tablet computers, iPhone smartphones and Apple Watch smartwatches. Apple sells its products through retail and online stores, direct sales and third-party network carriers, wholesalers, retailers and value-added resellers. As one of the most recognizable and popular brands in the world, Apple has sales of $199.4 billion and assets of $261.9 billion, and is the most valuable company in the world with a market capitalization of $621.6 billion as of December 2015.
2) Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is a South Korean electronics company focusing on producing mobile electronic devices. Since introducing its first flagship Android phone, the Galaxy S, and the Galaxy Tab, the first mainstream Android tablet, Samsung has been one of the most successful tech companies in the world. Samsung makes more smartphones than any other company in the world. It is also one of the leading producers of HDTVs and home theater equipment. As of December 2015, Samsung has sales of $195.9 billion, assets of $209.6 billion and a market capitalization of $187.8 billion.
Founded in 1911, New York-based International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) started as a producer of punch-card tabulating machines. IBM launched its first personal computer in 1981 called the IBM PC, which quickly became the industry standard. IBM’s failure to compete effectively in the rapidly changing personal computer industry led to financial problems in the 1980s, but its focus on business solutions and networking has helped the company remain a major force in the hardware industry. As of December 2015, IBM has sales of $93.4 billion, assets of $177.5 billion and a market capitalization of $130.8 billion.
4) Foxconn Technology Group
Foxconn Technology Group is a Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturing company headquartered in Tucheng, New Taipei, Taiwan. With over 1 million employees, it is one of the world's largest electronics contractor manufacturers and the largest producer of Apple products. While Foxconn continues to benefit from the success of surging sales of iPhones, the company plans to diversify its production. Rising competition for Apple contracts and improving Chinese labor standards have cut into company profits. As of December 2015, Foxconn has a market capitalization of $40.3 billion.
5) HP Inc.
The Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), also known as HP Inc., is one of the two companies resulting from the split of HP in 2015. The company, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, produces personal computers and printers. Facing a decline in the personal computer market, HP decided to streamline operations by creating two smaller companies. The other company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, focuses on server and other hardware sales to businesses. By splitting, HP hopes to have more resources to allocate toward research and development, leading to more innovative products. As of the split in 2015, HP Inc. has a market capitalization of $21.9 billion.
Lenovo Group Ltd. is a computer technology company with headquarters in Beijing, China, and Morrisville, North Carolina. The company designs, develops, manufactures and sells personal computers, tablet computers, smartphones, workstations, servers, electronic storage devices, IT management software and smart televisions. Its products include the ThinkPad line of notebook computers and the ThinkCentre line of desktops. Lenovo claims to be the world’s largest PC vendor, and as of December 2015, had sales of $44.3 billion, assets of $29.3 billion and a market capitalization of $11.4 billion.
Established in 1935, Fujitsu is the second-oldest technology company after IBM. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Fujitsu designs and manufactures a wide array of products including personal computers, mobile phones, servers, storage systems, notebook PCs, tablet PCs and accessories, scanners, printers, optical networking solutions, broadband transmission, switching technologies, car audio, navigation systems and mobile communication equipment. As of December 2015, Fujitsu has sales of $45.1 billion, assets of $26.8 billion and a market capitalization of $10.9 billion.
8) Quanta Computer
Quanta Computer is a Taiwan-based manufacturer of notebook computers and other electronic hardware. The company is an original design manufacturer (ODM), which designs and manufactures a product as specified before it is eventually rebranded by another company. Quanta builds electronics for companies such as HP, Dell, Lenovo and Apple. It produces laptop computers, smartphones, servers, digital TVs, auto electronics and wireless devices. Though it has a large data center business of its own, laptop PCs comprise about 60% of Quanta's revenue. As of December 2015, Quanta has sales of $30.6 billion, assets of $19.2 billion and a market capitalization of $9.3 billion.
Based in Taipei, Taiwan, AsusTeK Computer Inc. manufactures and sells computers, communication products and consumer electronics. Its products are sold in the United States under the ASUS brand and include laptops, tablet computers, desktop computers, mobile phones, servers, computer monitors, motherboards and various computer components. ASUS operates around 50 service sites across 32 countries and has over 400 service partners worldwide. As of December 2015, AsusTeK has sales of $15.8 billion, assets of $11.1 billion and a market capitalization of $6 billion.
Compal Electronics, based in Taipai, Taiwan, is one of the world’s leading original design manufacturers of notebook PCs, computers, monitors and TVs for companies such as Acer, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba, HP and Fujitsu. The company has offices in China, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, and its main production facility is in Kunshan, China. As of December 2015, Compal has sales of $28 billion, assets of $12 billion and a market capitalization of $3.6 billion.