Chipmaker Nvidia is worth nearly as much as the entire Canadian economy.

Technology giant Nvidia is hitting new heights thanks to demand for products connected to artificial intelligence, leading the chipmaker to a market value that this week approached that of the entire Canadian economy.

The California-based company briefly hit $2 trillion US in overall value, or market capitalization, for the first time on Friday, riding on insatiable demand for its semiconductors and chips.

The entire Canadian economy, as measured by GDP, was $2.12 trillion US in 2023 according to the International Monetary Fund. 

Less than a year ago, Nvidia was worth about $1 trillion US. Its growth over the past eight months has been characterized as the fastest among U.S. companies. Nvidia went from $1 trillion to $2 trillion in value in less than half the time it took tech giants Apple and Microsoft.

The milestone followed another bumper revenue forecast that drove up its market value by $277 billion US on Thursday — Wall Street’s largest one-day gain on record.

By Friday, Nvidia’s market capitalization (its total value on the stock market) was higher than Amazon or Google’s parent company Alphabet.

“Demand is surging worldwide across companies, industries and nations,” founder and CEO Jensen Huang wrote in a statement with the company’s latest financial results. 

A Nintendo Switch is displayed on a table.
The Nintendo Switch uses some Nvidia components. The California-based company made its name with graphics cards used to drive video games on personal computers. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

From video games to AI

It’s a big shift for a company that has become one of the biggest players in AI after building its initial name by creating graphics chips used to drive video games on personal computers and devices such as the Nintendo Switch.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” said analyst Stacy Rasgon, who focuses on semiconductors for Bernstein Research.

Rasgon is among many industry analysts pointing out that Nvidia’s previous bread and butter turned out to be well suited for generative artificial intelligence and its associated technologies.

“It became clear that you could use these things to do machine learning and everything kind of snowballed from there,” said Rasgon.

“Researchers discovered that the graphics chips that Nvidia was developing… lent themselves very well to running AI algorithms,” said Emil Savov, managing director of Ontario’s MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund.

“That gave them a really big head start.”

Few competitors 

For now, stock market analysts say Nvidia does not have competitors who can match its production of products to support AI.

“Nvidia has, I think, an 80 per cent market share, really no competition at the moment. And the company [has predicted] really tremendous growth from AI workflows going forward. And they think we’re just getting started,” said Barry Schwartz, with Baskin Wealth Management in Toronto.

Schwartz has said that while many tech companies are moving into AI, one of the only outfits that can supply…

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