We don’t often mention the name MediaTek on this website, largely because we focus on flagship handsets, but the Taiwanese chipset designer has been quietly coming up from behind and last year overtook the big boys to become the largest smartphone chipset supplier in the world last year.
According to analyst Omdia the company shipped 351.8 million units in 2020, up from 238 million units in 2019, taking the top spot from Qualcomm.
The growth is on the back of increased interest in low and mid-range handset and a variety of other circumstances, such as Huawei not being able to use their Kirin or Qualcomm’s products.
“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,” said Zaker Li, senior analyst of wireless devices components & devices at Omdia. “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.”
Xiaomi was MediaTek’s biggest customer, shipping 63.7 million smartphones powered by MediaTek chips. Next was Oppo, with 55.3 million units. Samsung was however the biggest new customer shipping 43.3 million smartphones with MediaTek chips, up 254.5% year-over-year.
“In 2021, MediaTek is expected to extend last year’s lead trend on smartphone chipset shipment,” Li continued. “In one hand there will be more chipset outsourcing demand from the New honor and Huawei, because of Kirin chipset will disappear in the market. In other hand, the future growth of smartphone market is in the emerging market, more low-end smartphone need cheap smartphone, MediaTek fits that need.”