Counterpoint: Mediatek leads the smartphone SoC race! Qualcomm and Apple in second and third respectively

Mediatek isn’t fooling around when they really mean business. Their Dimensity chipsets are top notch too.

It’s that time of the year again, where a market analyst examines who are a top notch in a business sector. In our case, it’s smartphone chipsets audited by Counterpoint.

Mediatek is a Taiwanese semiconductor company that makes chipsets for smartphones. It is known for focusing on the budget to midrange phone segments. These chipsets include the Helio G series and the Dimensity series. Phones with Mediatek chipsets are often cheaper than those with Snapdragon chips, as they are cheaper to manufacture and produce.

In the chart above, it is quite visible that Mediatek has destroyed its competition. In Q2 2021, it had covered 43% of the SoC market share, 19% higher than Qualcomm. One primary reasons is that they have more supply of chipsets during the first half of 2021, which, during that time, there was a chipset shortage that caused different sectors, ranging from computers to cars and phones to have a delayed launch or have their factories closed entirely. Its budget Helio series also contributed greatly to this high market share.

Research Director Dale Gai said, “MediaTek dominated the smartphone SoC market with its highest ever share of 43%, driven by a competitive 5G portfolio in the low-mid segment and without major supply constraints. Relative to Qualcomm, MediaTek benefited from less supply constraints in the first half of 2021, including with RFICs (radio-frequency integrated circuits), power management ICs (PMIC), and stable production yields from TSMC. 4G SoC shipments further helped MediaTek to strengthen its leading position.”

In terms of baseband shipments, Mediatek is far behind Qualcomm, but despite that, their market share increased from 11% last Q2 2020 to 30% in Q2 2021. That is a big jump considering there is a chipset shortage happening. Also, notice the “Others” part, 42% last year but a now, there’s a very sharp downfall, going down to as low as 5%. Hmm, this seems like a familiar situation, but obviously the one this is referring to is Huawei and HiSilicon Kirin.

Going back, thanks to Qualcomm’s advance 5G modems, they have seen a significant increase in global baseband sales. From 29% last year to 55% this year, that’s 25% more than Mediatek. The root cause for this are the iPhones. From the iPhone 8 to the iPhone 13, Qualcomm’s modem technologies are in use but modified to fit their standards. Counterpoint also noted that they could’ve performed better if they weren’t hit by supply constraints that was affecting everyone early this year.

“Qualcomm dominated the 5G baseband market with 55% share. It gained from the 5G baseband modem chipset win in the Apple iPhone 12 series and the significant demand for its complete 5G SoC chipsets, from the flagship 8 series to affordable 4 series. However, Qualcomm would have shipped more chipsets if the San Diego vendor wouldn’t have been affected by the supply-side constraints and yield issues during the first half of 2021. As a result, Qualcomm diversified and secured extra capacity starting at TSMC and other foundries for various components in late Q2 2021. This should help the vendor streamline its component supply and regain the share lost to MediaTek in the coming quarters.” Research Analyst Parv Sharma said.

Source: Counterpoint