It is an incredible time for chip maker Nvidia as it steps into the elite club of US companies sporting a $1 trillion market value, a milestone achieved only by a handful of industry giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Alphabet so far. This remarkable achievement signifies Nvidia’s dominating position as a leading player in the rapidly evolving field of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Founded in 1993, the California-based company initially focused on making computer chips that processed graphics, especially for computer games. However, the firm underwent a significant transformation under the visionary leadership of its affable co-founder, Jensen Huang. By investing in the functionality of Nvidia chips long before the AI revolution, Huang ensured Nvidia’s prowess in the booming AI sector. Today, Nvidia’s hardware underpins most AI applications, with one report suggesting it has claimed 95% of the market for machine learning.
The past twelve months have seen Nvidia’s share price more than doubling, as investors and analysts alike perceive Nvidia as the beating heart and lungs of the AI revolution. This positive sentiment is due to Nvidia’s strategic alignment with the surging demand for AI applications, fueled by the advances in generative AI technology. One shining example of this is ChatGPT, the chatbot developed by OpenAI, which was trained using 10,000 of Nvidia’s graphics processing units (GPUs) clustered together in a Microsoft-owned supercomputer. The launch of ChatGPT sparked a global AI fervour, further solidifying Nvidia’s position in the field.
The rapid rise in Nvidia’s stock value, which has tripled in less than eight months, is a testament to its quick ascension in the AI boom. This surge outpaces any other member of the broad-market S&P 500 index and surpasses its peers in the chip-making industry. Its shares, which were up 5.7% on Tuesday, started trading at over $400 per share, pushing Nvidia’s overall valuation beyond the trillion-dollar benchmark. The highest price target values the company at about $1.6 trillion, on par with Google-parent Alphabet.
The recent leap in Nvidia’s share price has been dubbed “an astonishing surprise even to techno-optimists.” The latest surge was spurred by a revenue forecast that surpassed Wall Street estimates by more than 50%, a feat analysts have labeled “unfathomable” and “cosmological.”
Despite challenges such as flat overall revenue growth and halved profits last year, Nvidia’s growth trajectory seems far from reaching its peak. Ethical questions surrounding AI’s societal impact and increasing competition from rivals AMD, Intel, and emerging startups do exist. However, Nvidia’s unwavering focus on advancing AI and its leadership in GPU production sets it on a promising path.
Nvidia’s strategic pivot towards data center growth has been a driving force behind its booming business, especially during the pandemic, when the demand for gaming, cloud adoption, and cryptocurrency mining rose. Last weekend, Nvidia made several AI announcements during the Computex 2023 keynote. Notable among these was the demo of games using its Avatar Cloud Engine (ACE) for Games to support natural language both for input and responses, and a new DGX GH200 supercomputer built around its latest Grace Hopper Superchip, which is collectively capable of an exaflop of AI performance.
Despite its sky-high valuation, analysts believe Nvidia’s AI chips business has room for growth as generative AI technology is still at a nascent stage, with wider adoption expected in the years to come. Looking forward, AI’s transformative power and Nvidia’s leadership in AI technology position the company as a leading player in what is touted as the next supercharged growth area. As the AI revolution continues to unfold, Nvidia’s rise to the trillion-dollar club might just be the beginning.