Samsung is not only the world's biggest memory chip maker but also the second-biggest chip buyer globally. The company spent tens of billions of dollars in buying semiconductor chips during 2020, driven by higher demand for computers and other consumer electronics during the pandemic.
According to a new report from market research firm Gartner, Samsung Electronics spent $36.4 billion on semiconductor chips last year. The company's spending in 2020 was 20.4% higher than in 2019. Apple was the world's biggest chip buyer in 2020, spending $53.6 and accounting for 11.9% share of the global chip market. The iPhone maker's spending on chips increased by 24% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Samsung benefited from the ban on Huawei products and the higher demand for laptops, tablets, and servers during the pandemic. As e-learning and work-from-home rose sharply last year, demand for cloud servers spiked, raising demand for Samsung's DRAM and SSDs. Apple's chip demand boost was driven by higher sales of AirPods, iPads, iPhones, and Macs.
The South Korean tech giant aims to become the world's largest chipmaker by investing $115 by 2030. It is trying to beat chip fabrication market leader TSMC by the end of this decade. However, its 5nm EUV process is reportedly still not as power-efficient as TSMC's 5nm process, and TSMC has already made significant progress in moving to a 3nm process.