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Chipset manufacturers such as MediaTek and Qualcomm will continue to dominate the smartphone market, according to latest analysis by Counterpoint Research. MediaTek will acquire a 37 percent global market share, while Qualcomm will come in a close second with 31 percent, as per the analysis.
MediaTek will gain the upper hand over Qualcomm in 2021 due to supply constraints around RFICs (radio-frequency integrated circuits) from Samsung’s factory in Austin, Texas, as per the report. Another disadvantage to Qualcomm is the relatively lower 5nm production yields, something MediaTek isn’t using, it stated.
In its forecasts, Counterpoint noted that the 20 percent potential annual uptick in demand is a function of “competitive 5G portfolio powering sub-$150 5G smartphones manufactured at TSMC without any supply constraint and growing share in 4G segment.”
Research Director Dale Gai said, “The leading-edge nodes, including 7nm, 6nm and 5nm, will account for almost half of the smartphone shipment volume in 2021. These leading nodes are mainly for 5G smartphone models, as advanced nodes (e.g., 11/12/14nm at TSMC and Samsung) will serve the mainstream 4G LTE chipsets in 2021.”
Apple and Samsung are expected to follow with an estimated 16 percent and 8 percent market share, respectively, while Unisoc, a Chinese company that makes chipsets for ultra-affordable smartphones, is expected to gain a 6 percent global market share. Counterpoint expects HiSilicon to effectively be booted out of the top five manufacturers.
When it comes to 5G SoCs, Qualcomm is expected to retain its lead in the global market. Research Analyst Parv Sharma says, “We estimate Qualcomm to increase its 5G SoC market share to grow to 30% mark in 2021, with 5G solutions across the tiers, from Snapdragon 8-series down to 4-series.”
Qualcomm will be able to make a strong comeback in H2 2021 once the bottleneck in production has cleared up. Apple and MediaTek are expected to follow with 29 percent and 28 percent market share in 2021. However, the report
noted that competition is set to get more fierce than ever since predictions show that the top three players will have minimal gains over the other in terms of market share.