MediaTek overtakes Qualcomm in smartphone chip shipments

MediaTek overtakes Qualcomm in smartphone chip shipments
Market news |
Over 100m smartphones were sold globally with MediaTek chipsets in Q3 2020, overtaking Qualcomm for the first time
By Nick Flaherty

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MediaTek became the biggest smartphone chipset vendor with 31 percent market share in Q3 2020 according to market researchers Counterpoint Technology in Hong Kong.

Smartphone sales rebounded in the quarter, and Mediatek benefitted from handset makers struggling with supply from Huawei’s HiSilicon division. HiSilicon, Apple and Samsung all had the same smartphone market share in the quarter.   

The change came from MediaTek’s strong performance in the $100-$250 price band and growth in key regions like China and India.

However Qualcomm still dominates in the supply of 5G chips with 39 percent of shipments, which doubled in the quarter. One-third of all smartphones shipped in Q4 2020 are expected to be 5G enabled, and Counterpoint sees a possibility of that Qualcomm will regain the top position in Q4 2020.

“MediaTek’s strong market share gain in Q3 2020 happened due to three reasons – strong performance in the mid-end smartphone price segment ($100-$250) and emerging markets like LATAM and MEA, the US ban on Huawei and finally wins in leading OEMs like Samsung, Xiaomi and Honor,” said Dale Gai, Research Director at Counterpoint. “The share of MediaTek chipsets in Xiaomi has increased by more than three times since the same period last year. MediaTek was also able to leverage the gap created due to the US ban on Huawei. Affordable MediaTek chips fabricated by TSMC became the first option for many OEMs to quickly fill the gap left by Huawei’s absence. Huawei had also previously purchased a significant amount of chipsets ahead of the ban.”

“On the other hand, Qualcomm also posted strong share gains from a year ago in the high-end segment in Q3 2020, again thanks to HiSilicon’s supply issues. However, Qualcomm faced competition from MediaTek in the mid-end segment. We believe both will continue to compete intensively through aggressive pricing, and mainstream 5G SoC products into 2021,” he said.

“Qualcomm and MediaTek have both reshuffled their portfolios, and consumer focus has played a key role here. Last year, MediaTek launched a new gaming-based G-series, while Dimensity chipsets have helped in bringing 5G to affordable categories. The world’s cheapest 5G device, the realme V3, is powered by MediaTek,” said Research Analyst Ankit Malhotra.

 “The immediate focus of chipset vendors will be to bring 5G to the masses, which will then unlock the potential of consumer 5G use cases like cloud gaming, which in turn will lead to higher demand for higher clocked GPUs and more powerful processors. Qualcomm and MediaTek will continue to contend for the top position.”

www.counterpointresearch.com

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