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Taiwan’s MediaTek overtook Qualcomm in smartphone AP market in 2021

TSMC manufactured 3 in 4 smartphone application processors last year

MediaTek chip (MediaTek image)

MediaTek chip (MediaTek image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The global smartphone applications processor (AP) market grew 23% to US$30.8 billion (NT$884 billion) in 2021, Strategy Analytics said on Thursday (March 31).

“For the first time on an annual basis, MediaTek overtook Qualcomm in units and established over 75 million unit-lead in smartphone APs in 2021,” said Sravan Kundojjala, director of handset component technologies at Strategy Analytics. “MediaTek capitalized on Qualcomm’s defocus on mid and low tier 4G LTE Aps and gained volume share,” Kundojjala said.

“Despite the loss of unit share crown, Qualcomm exited 2021 with over 43% higher revenue than MediaTek, thanks to an increased mix of higher-priced premium and high-tier APs,” he added. MediaTek and Qualcomm both “performed well in the 5G AP segment and posted a 13-year high in their AP average selling prices.”

Qualcomm, MediaTek, Apple, Samsung LSI, and Unisoc took the top-five revenue share spots in the smartphone AP market in 2021, Strategy Analytics said. Qualcomm maintained its leadership in this segment with a 38% revenue share, followed by MediaTek and Apple with 26% each.

Apple, MediaTek, Qualcomm, and Unisoc gained market share, while HiSilicon and Samsung LSI lost share last year, per Strategy Analytics.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) manufactured three in four smartphone APs shipped in 2021. Semiconductor foundries, including TSMC and Samsung Foundry, performed well despite supply constraints and helped the industry capture growth, Strategy Analytics said.