MediaTek became the biggest smartphone chipset vendor with 31% market share in the third quarter of 2020 as smartphone sales rebounded in the quarter, according to Counterpoint estimates. MediaTek’s strong performance in the $100-$250 price band and growth in key regions like China and India helped it become the biggest smartphone chipset vendor.
Meanwhile, Qualcomm was the biggest 5G chipset vendor in the third quarter of 2020. It powered 39% of the 5G phones sold worldwide. The demand for 5G smartphones doubled in the third quarter of 2020 – 17% of all smartphones sold in the third quarter of 2020 were 5G. This impressive growth trajectory is going to continue, more so with Apple launching its 5G line-up. One-third of all smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter of 2020 are expected to be 5G enabled even though there is still a chance Qualcomm will regain the top position in Q4 2020.
Commenting on MediaTek’s market share gain, Research Director Dale Gai said: “MediaTek’s strong market share gain in the third quarter of 2020 happened due to three reasons – strong performance in the mid-end smartphone price segment ($100-$250) and emerging markets like Latin America and Middle East and Africa, the US ban on Huawei and finally wins in leading OEMs like Samsung, Xiaomi and Honor. 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.”
Gai added: “On the other hand, Qualcomm also posted strong share gains (from a year ago) in the high-end segment in the third quarter of 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.”
Commenting on the growth strategies of Qualcomm and MediaTek, Research Analyst Ankit Malhotra 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.”
Commenting on the outlook for chipset vendors, Malhotra said: “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.”