According to the latest market analysis released by Omdia and published by DigiTImes, MediaTek managed to overtake Qualcomm, becoming the top smartphone SoC supplier of 2020. The Taiwanese company shipped a total of 351.8 million units to major smartphone OEMs across the world in 2020. This is a 47.8% increase over the 238 million units sold in 2019 and MediaTek’s market share jumped 10% year-over-year, from 17.2% to 27.2%.
The global pandemic shortages, as well as the Huawei bans in the U.S. that forced the Chinese company to seek a new supplier for its handsets created a perfect storm, which greatly benefitted MediaTek in 2020. Zaker Li, senior analyst of wireless devices components & devices at Omdia explains that “ MediaTek’s growth was in key price segments as the world was impacted by the pandemic in the first half of 2020 and the smartphone market recovered in the second half of the year. Low-end and mid/low-end devices were popular with buyers. MediaTek’s ability to compete presents an alternative to Qualcomm chips in this price segment, which helped the company grow.”
This trend can also be corroborated with the latest report on the customer share of revenues released by TSMC – the foundry that produces all MediaTek SoCs. Back in 2019 MediaTek only had 4.3% customer share, while Qualcomm recorded a 6.1% share. For 2020, Qualcomm’s share is substantially higher than MediaTek’s (9.8% versus 5.9%), but that is probably due to Qualcomm producing more expensive high-end chips than MediaTek. The 2021 estimations already show MediaTek overtaking Qualcomm (8.2% versus 7.6%)
Furthermore, the Omdia report touches upon the OEMs that sold the most smartphones powered by MediaTek’s SoCs in 2020. Xiaomi was first with 63.7 million units sold – a 223.3% increase over the 19.7 million sold in 2019. Oppo was second with 55.3 million units sold, but if we factor in the units sold by subsidiary company Realme, Oppo actually sold 83.19 million units. Even though Samsung was only third with 43.3 million units sold, the Korean giant recorded the highest year-over-year growth rate with 254.3%.
MediaTek is expected to maintain the leading position for this year, as well. Li explains the major factors that will help MediaTek in this regard: “On the one hand there will be more chipset outsourcing demand from Honor and Huawei, because Kirin chipsets will disappear […] On the other hand, the future growth of smartphones is in the emerging market, more low-end smartphone need cheap SoCs, MediaTek fits that need.”