Taiwan-based integrated circuit designer MediaTek Inc. beat its American rival Qualcomm Inc. to become the largest smartphone chip supplier worldwide in the third quarter of this year, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research.
The Hong Kong-headquartered market information advisory firm said that MediaTek took a 31 percent share of the global smartphone chip market in the July-September period, topping Qualcomm's 29 percent.
MediaTek's third-quarter market share grew 5 percentage points from a year earlier, helping the Taiwanese firm to rise one notch in the ranking, while Qualcomm's share fell 2 percentage points from a year earlier, Counterpoint said.
However, it went on, Qualcomm took a 39 percent share in the global 5G smartphone chip market and served as the largest 5G chip supplier in the third quarter.
In that quarter, MediaTek made a strong performance in the US$100-US$250 price range in the smartphone chip market, Counterpoint said, adding that the Taiwanese firm benefited from sales growth in markets such as China and India.
Due to the sanctions imposed by Washington on Chinese telecom equipment brand Huawei Technologies Co., China's Xiaomi and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. secured orders that shifted from Huawei, and the gains posted by Xiaomi boosted MediaTek's shipments, Counterpoint said.
"The share of MediaTek chipsets in Xiaomi has increased by more than three times since the same period of last year," Counterpoint Research Director Dale Gai said in a statement. "Affordable
MediaTek chips fabricated by TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) became the first option for many OEMs to quickly fill the gap left by Huawei's absence."
In addition, Gai said, Huawei had also previously acquired a significant amount of chips from MediaTek before the sanctions took effect in mid-September, a move that also boosted the Taiwanese IC designer's sales.
Gai said Qualcomm performed well in the high-end smartphone chip segment in the third quarter.
"However, Qualcomm faced competition from MediaTek in the midrange segment. We believe that both will continue to compete intensively through aggressive pricing and mainstream 5G SoC (system on a chip) products into 2021," Gai said.
Counterpoint said that since about one-third of all smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter of 2020 are expected to be 5G-enabled, there is still a chance for Qualcomm to take back the top post in the quarter.
In the third quarter, HiSilicon Technologies Co., Huawei's IC design subsidiary, took a 12 percent share, unchanged from a year earlier, to rank as the third-largest smartphone chip supplier.
Counterpoint said Samsung took a 12 percent share in the third quarter, down from 16 percent a year earlier, while Apple also secured 12 percent, up one percentage point from a year earlier.