What you need to know
- MediaTek became the number 1 chipset supplier last year.
- It was carried by the absence of Huawei's Kirin chips in the low-end market.
- MediaTek was also helped by the sale of low-end Xiaomi and Samsung handsets.
MediaTek has taken the crown of the biggest smartphone supplier, according to a report from analyst firm Omdia (via Digitimes). The company shipped 351.8 million chips to smartphone OEMs, a growth of 47.8% coming from what it had supplied in 2019.
The company's rise in 2020 can be attributed to an increase in the sales of cheap Android phones, alongside a ban on rival chipset maker, Huawei.
Huawei last year had said that it would be quitting the chip market for low-end phones, allowing MediaTek to swoop in and supply chipsets to the likes of Xiaomi. Xiaomi also saw a sales bump due to Huawei's absence in the market, further contributing to MediaTek's rise.
Zaker Li, senior analyst of wireless devices components & devices at Omdia was quoted as saying:
Mostly important for MediaTek's growth in 2020 was in key price segments for MediaTek 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 present an alternative to Qualcomm chips in this price segment helped the company grow.
Counterpoint Research Director Dale Gai also agreed with this, in a report issued in 2020, he further added:
MediaTek was also able to leverage the gap created due to the US ban on Huawei. Affordable MediaTek chips fabricated by TSMC became the first option for many OEMs to quickly fill the gap left by Huawei's absence. Huawei had also previously purchased a significant amount of chipsets ahead of the ban."
MediaTek is said to be powering Samsung's upcoming A7 Lite, and rumors indicate that the company is even branching into the high-end Chromebook market with powerful new chips. It's not great news for Qualcomm, but it's good news for the consumers who get to reap the benefits of renewed competition.