MediaTek was the largest supplier of smartphone chipsets last year, beating out Qualcomm for the first time ever.
The information comes from tech research agency Omdia (via DigiTimes), which reported that MediaTek shipped 351.8 million units in 2020 compared to 238 million units in 2019. The company also saw a market share of 27.2% in 2020 compared to 17.2% in 2019.
Omdia credited the US’ ban on Qualcomm sales to Huawei as one reason for the shift, but the main buyer of MediaTek’s chips was Xiaomi, with 63.7 million shipments of smartphones that were powered by them. In contrast, Xiaomi only shipped 19.7 million units of MediaTek-armed smartphones in 2019.
Oppo was the second biggest customer of MediaTek chips in 2020, with 55.3 million shipments of MediaTek-powered smartphones, up from 46.3 million units in 2019. Meanwhile, Samsung was the brand with the highest growth rate in MediaTek chip purchases, with Omdia noting a 254.5% increase in Samsung’s MediaTek chip purchases in 2020.
Omdia senior analyst of wireless devices components & devices Zaker Li said, “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."
For 2021, Li expects MediaTek to continue its upward trend on smartphone chipset shipments, largely from demand from Honor and Huawei due to the current state of Kirin and the emerging market of cheap smartphones.