Corporations and consumers globally use semiconductors—small conductors of electricity also known as semis or chips—in a millions of devices, including space vehicles, car computers, smartphones, medical equipment, appliances, and more. As electronic devices proliferate, companies that manufacture semiconductors continue to prosper. These companies tend to be driven by the goal of producing smaller, cheaper, and faster semiconductors to facilitate more streamlined, powerful, and affordable technology products. Semiconductors can be divided into four categories: microprocessors, memory chips, commodity integrated circuits, and complex "systems on a chip."

For investors looking to gain exposure to the semiconductor industry, there are many companies that produce these chips. While some of these companies are household names, many are relatively unknown. Semiconductors are hidden in phones, tablets, and computers. So many lesser-known business-to-business (B2B) companies are major suppliers of chips and other components. These suppliers, in turn, often sell these items to hardware companies that manufacture more recognizable, brand-name devices.

As a group, semiconductor companies play a major role in the development of new technology products and are seen by many investors as a key investment. The semiconductor industry and stocks in the sector tend to be highly cyclical.

Below are the 10 biggest semiconductor companies based on their 12-month trailing (TTM) revenue. This list is limited to companies which are publicly traded in the U.S. or Canada, either directly or through ADRs. Some foreign companies may report semiannually, and so may have longer lag times. All figures are current as of June 18, 2020 and all data is provided by YCharts.

Intel Corp. (INTC)

  • Revenue (TTM): $75.7 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $22.7 billion
  • Market Cap: $256.1 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 34.1%
  • Exchange: Nasdaq

Intel is an integrated device manufacturer that designs and manufactures motherboard chipsets, network interface controllers, and integrated circuits. The company's initial products were memory chips, including the world's first metal oxide semiconductor. Today, Intel creates processors for a variety of computer and technology companies. In June 2020, analysts expect Apple Inc. (AAPL) to announce plans to discontinue a long-term partnership with Intel, with Apple preparing to produce its own chips in-house.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSM)

  • Revenue (TTM): $37.9 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $13.1 billion
  • Market Cap: $293.5 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 58.8%
  • Exchange: New York Stock Exchange

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is one of the world's largest dedicated independent pure-play semiconductor foundries. Pure-play foundries only fabricate integrated circuits and do not have any in-house design capabilities. Many semiconductor companies outsource the manufacturing of their components to Taiwan Semiconductor.

Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM)

  • Revenue (TTM): $24.7 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $4.0 billion
  • Market Cap: $101.2 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 34.2%
  • Exchange: Nasdaq

Qualcomm is a global semiconductor and telecommunications company that designs and markets wireless communications products and services. Telecommunications companies worldwide use Qualcomm's patented CDMA (code division multiple access) technology, which has played an integral role in the development of wireless communications. Its Snapdragon chipsets are found in many mobile devices.

Broadcom Inc. (AVGO)

  • Revenue (TTM): $22.9 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $2.5 billion
  • Market Cap: $126.1 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 23.4%
  • Exchange: Nasdaq

Broadcom manufactures digital and analog semiconductors and provides interfaces for computers' Bluetooth connectivity, routers, switches, processors, and fiber optics.

Micron Technology Inc. (MU)

  • Revenue (TTM): $19.6 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $2.3 billion
  • Market Cap: $56.7 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 57.1%
  • Exchange: Nasdaq

Micron Technology markets semiconductor products on an international basis. Its products are used in computers, consumer electronics, automobiles, communications, and servers. It creates flash RAM products as well as rewritable disc storage solutions.

Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN)

  • Revenue (TTM): $14.1 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $5.0 billion
  • Market Cap: $115.8 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 21.8%
  • Exchange: Nasdaq

Texas Instruments designs and fabricates semiconductors for manufacturers worldwide. The company is a major manufacturer of chips for mobile devices, digital signal processors, and analog semiconductors. It still manufactures the product it first became widely known for: calculators. Texas Instruments started as an oil and gas company in 1930, then focused on defense systems electronics in the 1940s. The company entered the semiconductor business in 1958 and now has tens of thousands of patents.

ASE Technology Holding Co. Ltd. (ASX)

  • Revenue (TTM): $13.7 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $0.6 billion
  • Market Cap: $9.7 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 30.9%
  • Exchange: New York Stock Exchange

ASE Technology is a Taiwan-based holding company that provides semiconductor assembly, packaging, and testing services. The company was created by the combination of Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. and Siliconware Precision Industries Co., Ltd.

NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA)

  • Revenue (TTM): $11.8 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $3.3 billion
  • Market Cap: $227.2 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 155.5%
  • Exchange: Nasdaq

Nvidia is best known for its line of consumer and high-end video graphics cards found in computers of all shapes and sizes. These graphics processing units, or GPUs, are popular among computer gamers, digital artists, and those who work with computer-aided design. Beginning around 2017, the company also received a boost in business from cryptocurrency mining, where GPUs have been found to be more efficient at producing digital currencies than traditional technologies.

STMicroelectronics NV (STM)

  • Revenue (TTM): $9.7 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $0.9 billion
  • Market Cap: $23.9 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 74.5%
  • Exchange: New York Stock Exchange

Swiss firm STMicroelectronics NV designs and manufactures semiconductor integrated circuits and discrete devices. Products created by this company have applications in a wide array of industries and sectors, including telecommunications, computer, industrial, and consumer electronics.

NXP Semiconductors NV (NXPI)

  • Revenue (TTM): $8.8 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $0.2 billion
  • Market Cap: $32.6 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 32.0%
  • Exchange: Nasdaq

Based in the Netherlands, NXP Semiconductors NV provides semiconductors and related technology to companies in the businesses of in-car entertainment, mobile devices, security applications, and more. NXP products are also used in applications as wide-reaching as lighting, wireless infrastructure, computing, and identification.