- Qualcomm dominated the 5G baseband market with a 55% share.
- Qualcomm has started dual sourcing from foundries to mitigate the supply chain constraints. We expect it to increase share with more wafer orders from TSMC’s leading nodes.
Seoul, Taipei, Beijing, New Delhi, London, Boston, Toronto, Hong Kong – September 6, 2021
Driven by the rapid growth of 5G smartphones, global smartphone AP (Application Processor)/SoC (System on Chip) chipset shipments grew 31% YoY in Q2 2021, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Foundry and AP/SoC service. In Q2 2021, 5G smartphone shipments grew almost four times compared to the same period a year ago.
Research Director Dale Gai said, “MediaTek dominated the smartphone SoC market with its highest ever share of 43%, driven by a competitive 5G portfolio in the low-mid segment and without major supply constraints. Relative to Qualcomm, MediaTek benefited from less supply constraints in the first half of 2021, including with RFICs (radio-frequency integrated circuits), power management ICs (PMIC), and stable production yields from TSMC. 4G SoC shipments further helped MediaTek to strengthen its leading position.”
Global Smartphone AP/SoC Shipment Market Share (%), Q2 2020 vs Q2 2021
Commenting on the growth of 5G smartphone baseband shipments, Research Analyst Parv Sharma said, “Qualcomm dominated the 5G baseband market with 55% share. It gained from the 5G baseband modem chipset win in the Apple iPhone 12 series and the significant demand for its complete 5G SoC chipsets, from the flagship 8 series to affordable 4 series. However, Qualcomm would have shipped more chipsets if the San Diego vendor wouldn’t have been affected by the supply-side constraints and yield issues during the first half of 2021. As a result, Qualcomm diversified and secured extra capacity starting at TSMC and other foundries for various components in late Q2 2021. This should help the vendor streamline its component supply and regain the share lost to MediaTek in the coming quarters.”
Global 5G Smartphone Baseband Shipment Market Share (%), Q2 2020 vs Q2 2021
MediaTek: Dominated the smartphone SoC market with a 43% share in Q2 2021. It gained share in the low-mid segment 5G portfolio. LTE SoC further helped it to strengthen its market position.
Qualcomm: Was comparatively more affected by the component supply constraints and lower yields at the foundry. However, it dominated the 5G baseband modem shipments with a 55% share. Qualcomm has realigned its component sourcing strategy, which should boost its supply and earnings.
Apple: With consistent healthy demand for the premium iPhone 12 series, Apple maintained its third position in the smartphone SoC market in Q2 2021 with a 14% share.
UNISOC: Its smartphone AP chipset shipments more than doubled in the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2020. This year, the company has succeeded in expanding its customer base, securing a series of design wins with major OEMs like HONOR, realme and Motorola. Improved acceptance of UNISOC-powered smartphones by Chinese consumers is a positive signal for its growth. It captured the fourth position in the quarter with a 9% share.
Samsung Exynos: It slipped to the fifth position with a 7% share as it is in the middle of rejigging its smartphone portfolio strategy of in-sourcing as well as outsourcing to Chinese ODMs. As a result, the share of MediaTek and Qualcomm has been growing across Samsung’s smartphone portfolio, from the mid-range 4G and 5G models manufactured by ODMs to the flagship ones.
HiSilicon: Affected by the US trade ban, Huawei was unable to manufacture the HiSilicon Kirin chipsets. The accumulated inventory of Kirin SoCs is on the verge of being exhausted. As a result, Huawei launched its P50 series with the latest Qualcomm SoCs but limited to 4G capabilities.
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Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.
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