MediaTek Strengthens Premium Push With Gen AI Capabilities

  • The Dimensity 9300 is integrated with the 7th-gen APU 790 processor, which supports a broad generative AI ecosystem and models including Meta Llama 2, Baidu ERNIE 3.5 SE and Baichuan 2.
  • It can run with 13 billion parameters, which are scalable up to 33 billion, on-device at a processing speed of up to 20 tokens per second.
  • The Dimensity 9300 will debut with the vivo X100 smartphone in mid-November

MediaTek recently launched its third-generation premium chipset Dimensity 9300. The company has emerged as a strong competitor in the premium smartphone chipset market after launching the Dimensity 9000 in Q1 2022. Currently, MediaTek leads the low-mid segment and drives significant volumes both for 4G and 5G in this tier.
Adopting a non-traditional CPU core design, the Dimensity 9300 focuses on raw performance. It has four large cores (Cortex-X4) and four performance cores (Cortex-A720 cores), thus enabling it to excel in raw computing power and advanced AI capabilities.

Mediatek Dimensity 9300 Features

Dimensity 9300 key specifications

Like the last two generations, the Dimensity 9300 SoC is built on a TSMC 4nm process node. It is more efficient and performs better than the Dimensity 9200. There is a 40% improvement in the multi-core performance and a 15% improvement in the single-core performance. The Dimensity 9300 combines an octa-core CPU with the company’s second-generation hardware raytracing engine, enabling smartphones to achieve console-level global illumination effects at a smooth 60 FPS. Besides, the chipset supports seamless multitasking, allowing users to simultaneously play games and stream videos or watch a video while gaming.

  • Four ARM Cortex-X4 CPU. Prime core clocked at up to 3.25GHz
  • Four ARM Cortex-A720 CPU clocked at up to 2.0GHz

Mediatek Dimensity 9300 CPU Architecture

7th-gen APU 790 processor

The chip is equipped with MediaTek’s next-generation APU 790 processor, which reduces power consumption by 45% while improving performance. Its processing speed is eight times that of the APU 690. It also offers significant improvements in generative AI performance and energy efficiency for edge computing. The APU 790 is specifically designed for generative AI tasks, marking a substantial upgrade over its predecessor. It accelerates processing through the Transformer model and supports image generation within one second using Stable Diffusion. The APU 790 also supports large language models with up to 33 billion parameters. MediaTek has also implemented mixed-precision INT4 quantization technology and NeuroPilot memory hardware compression to optimize memory usage for large AI models.

Mediatek Dimensity 9300 APU

The Dimensity 9300 has a strong AI generative ecosystem, which supports language models like Llama 2, Baichuan 2 and Baidu AI LLM. It helps developers to efficiently deploy multi-modal generative AI applications for users.

Immortalis-G720 GPU

With the integration of ARM’s latest GPU, the Immortalis-G720, the Dimensity 9300 offers almost a 46% boost in GPU performance and 40% power reduction compared to the Dimensity 9200.

Mediatek Dimensity 9300 GPU

The Dimensity 9300 chipset supports the new Ultra HDR format in Android 14, improving mobile photography with vibrant images and compatible JPEG files. It also offers ambient light adaptive HDR recovery technology for enhanced photography. It supports 100% pixel-level autofocus, dual lossless zoom and 3-microphone HDR audio recording.

The chipset’s display system is equipped with the MiraVision Picture Quality (PQ) engine which dynamically adjusts the contrast, sharpness and color of primary objects, resulting in lifelike video experiences similar to high-end TVs. It uses on-device AI to detect primary objects and background images in real time.

Enhanced connectivity

The Dimensity 9300 offers Wi-Fi 7 speeds up to 6.5 Gbps and improved long-range connectivity with Xtra Range 2.0 Technology. It also enhances smartphone tethering speeds by up to three times using Multi-Link Hotspot technology. The Dimensity 9300 also supports up to three Bluetooth antennas and features dual Bluetooth flash connection technology for an ultra-low latency Bluetooth audio experience.

DRAM support and security

The Dimensity 9300 is the first SoC that supports the LPDDR5T up to 9600 Mbps. Also, it integrates two SUPs, one for boot security and one for computing security.

Dimensity 9300 vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 3

In terms of specifications, the Dimensity 9300 uses all big core architecture 4 prime cores (Cortex-X4) and 4 big cores (Cortex-A720), whereas the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 uses one prime (Cortex-X4), five big (Cortex-A720) and two small cores (Cortex-A520). MediaTek with its all-big core design is addressing generative AI and gaming applications. On paper, the Dimensity 9300’s AI performance is competitive. The Dimensity 9300 supports large language models that can run with 13 billion parameters, whereas the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 can run with 10 billion parameters on-device.

The fact that MediaTek now offers performance and efficiency gains that are comparable to Qualcomm’s latest-generation flagship offerings, shows MediaTek wants to directly compete with Qualcomm in the premium segment. Overall, this is going to be a win-win for the industry, as it will raise the bar and, in turn, benefit the end users.

A table showing the differences between Mediatek Dimensity 9300 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3

Expected timeline

The vivo X100 will be the first smartphone to carry the Dimensity 9300 chipset. It will be available in the market by the end of 2023. We expect that the Dimensity 9300 will have better adoption among Chinese OEMs compared to the Dimensity 9200. China will be the first target market for smartphones with the Dimensity 9300, followed by India, SEA and Europe.

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BoM Analysis: iPhone 15 Pro Max Costs $37.7 More Than iPhone 14 Pro Max

  • The iPhone 15 Pro Max’s BoM cost is $37.7 higher than that of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
  • The industry’s first 3nm-powered SoC A17 Pro, innovative 5x telephoto camera, and a redesigned titanium central panel are major areas of BoM cost increase.
  • Memory and display are among the areas where cost has fallen.
  • Share of Apple’s self-designed components has increased to 25% of the total BoM cost.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is Apple’s most advanced flagship model to date. It nicely segments the portfolio for Apple’s power users who are always looking out for the best iPhone experience. Apple has differentiated its top model with the most advanced processor, a unique telephoto camera system and a lighter titanium-based casing design. This has also made the iPhone 15 Pro Max costlier than its predecessor.

The total bill of materials (BoM) cost to produce an 8GB+256GB iPhone 15 Pro Max comes to $37.7 or 8% higher than that for the 6GB+256GB iPhone 14 Pro Max launched last year, according to Counterpoint Research’s Teardown and BoM Analysis Service. With an increase of $100 in the starting retail price, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to give Apple more profit as it has the highest gross margin in the iPhone 15 family, despite being the costliest model.

Counterpoint Research
Source: Counterpoint Research’s Smartphone Teardown and BoM Analysis

Where the costs have risen

  • First 3nm process-powered application processor: Apple’s new-generation mobile platform, the A17 Pro, uses TSMC’s most advanced 3nm fabrication technology and packs more than 19 billion transistors in a die, 18% more than that of the A16 Bionic. Thanks to the improved 6-core GPU architecture, the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s GPU performance is 20% faster. As a result, the A17 Pro can deliver vastly improved gaming performance with a breakthrough in enabling real-time 3D ray tracing. However, this SoC upgrade has resulted in a cost increase of around $30 compared with the A16.
  • Apple’s first 5x telephoto camera: Another notable upgrade is the 5x telephoto camera featuring an equivalent 120mm focal length. This camera consists of a quadruple reflection prism that enables light rays to bounce four times, allowing users to capture sharper close-up shots from greater distances. Lante Optics is the primary supplier of this prism. Additionally, to match the new telephoto system, Apple has designed the 3D sensor-shift OIS in this camera which can make up to 10,000 micro-adjustments per second, enabling users to capture clearer, sharper photos and more stable videos. The development and assembly of the stabilization mechanism involved a collective effort from Cirrus Logic and LG Innotek. The overall cost of the camera system in the iPhone 15 Pro Max is 34% costlier than that of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
  • Titanium alloy casing: Apple has adopted a titanium alloy in the iPhone 15 Pro Max casing frame, which has reduced the device’s weight by around 20 g, making it the lightest Pro Max model ever. The cost of the new casing in the iPhone 15 Pro Max is 18% higher than that of the 14 Pro Max.

Where the costs have fallen

  • Memory: Apple has upgraded the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s DRAM to 8GB, which is 2GB higher than that of its predecessor. However, the global memory market was in a downtrend from Q4 2022 to Q3 2023, both DRAM and NAND flash prices have decreased by more than 30%. This has worked in favor of Apple, helping it offset some of the other cost increases as the contribution of memory chips dropped by 34% compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
  • Display: The display price is also in a downtrend. Apart from Samsung Display, LG Display has also started supplying iPhone LTPO displays. This has contributed to a reduction in display costs by 4% in the iPhone 15 Pro Max compared to that of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Rising share of self-designed components

Apple’s vertical ambitions are evident as its self-designed components, such as the processor, the upgraded UWB and power management ICs, are playing an increasingly significant role in the overall BoM cost of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, garnering Apple great economies of scale and control over the performance and end-user experience. Our estimates indicate that these self-designed components account for 25% of the total BoM cost of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, up from 22% in the iPhone 14 Pro Max last year.

Key takeaways

  • Apple has grown to a level where it has significant control over design, innovation, scalability, costs and profits of the entire iPhone and the other products in its portfolio.
  • This is helping Apple with differentiation and is also allowing it to exercise not only significant selling power but also buying power through great vertical design expertise and sourcing of components.
  • Also, having the most powerful smartphone SoC manufactured at the most advanced process node has allowed Apple to design an SoC with high-performance CPU, pro-class GPU and dedicated neural engines to build pervasive AI experiences, efficiently blending with its vertical software (OS) capability and (apps) ecosystem.
  • Apple is, thus, raising the table stakes for competition with its flagship, which is set to be the most lucrative iPhone in terms of top line and bottom line.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) 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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Counterpoint Quarterly: IoT Q3 2023



PDF | 31 pages
Published date: November 6th 2023

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MediaTek’s Q3 2023 Revenue Up 9% QoQ as Inventory Levels Normalize

  • MediaTek witnessed robust sequential growth in Q3 due to customers restocking inventory. 
  • Inventory declined to a healthy level of 90 days during the quarter.  
  • 3nm SoC shipments set to start in H2 2024 
  • Auto pipeline remains the same over $1 billion

MediaTek’s revenue increased 9% QoQ in Q3 2023, highlighting a good quarter, despite a YoY decline. This sequential growth was largely driven by inventory restocking by smartphone OEMs and new 4G and 5G model launches. The demand for wireless and wired connectivity grew sequentially with shipments reaching a quarterly record. Also, the inventory situation has gradually improved, coming down to a steady level of 90 days compared to 115 days in the previous quarter. The company is aiming to launch the 3nm chipset in H2 2023. 

Long-term growth potential in computing, edge AI and Auto segment 

CEO Rick Tsai: “For the future, the increasing computing capabilities, the proliferation of edge AI, and the higher adoption of semiconductor content for automotive will provide strong growth opportunities for MediaTek. For AI, we believe the increasing demand for cloud AI will create a complementary demand for edge AI, and, the more edge AI, the better cloud AI.”

Shivani Parashar’s analyst take: “MediaTek foresees strong growth potential in computing, edge AI, and automotive semiconductors. The company will focus on capabilities to integrate edge AI into SoCs for a wide range of applications, mostly for smartphones and the auto segment. MediaTek has already collaborated with NVIDIA in the automotive sector. The company is well positioned and plans to continue investing in successful segments. The expansion into new markets like AI and ARM computing, by leveraging its technological powers and partnerships with leading foundries, will help the company generate significant revenues in these segments.” 

Customer and channel inventory returned to a normal level 

CEO: “In the last few months, we’ve observed improvements in overall channel inventories, particularly with respect to smartphones. With prudent inventory management, we have reduced our inventory for five consecutive quarters. At the end of Q3 2023, our days of inventory has reached to a healthy level of 90 days. We expect the overall inventory environment to continue to improve in the coming quarters.” 

Parv Sharma’s analyst take: “According to our supply chain checks, Channel level inventory is reducing and by H1 2024, the inventory will be at a normal level. The smartphone OEMs have started restocking the inventory, but still, they remain cautious due to weak consumer demand.” 

5G penetration to increase in 2024 

CFO David Ku: “We still got a few more months to get into 2024, but in general, I think the mix in terms of 4G versus 5G, our view is actually 5G will continue — for our own shipment perspective — 5G probably will increase and 4G will decline in terms of shipment compared to this year, 2024 versus 2023. Because 5G again next year, our view is the overall market will still witness double-digit percentage growth, 4G probably will be flattish to slightly down from the market demand perspective.” 

Shivani Parashar’s analyst take: “We forecast that 5G penetration will increase in double-digit percentage in 2024. In anticipation of a shift from LTE to entry-level 5G smartphones, OEMs are expanding their 5G portfolio across price bands. Intense competition among OEMs, availability of cheaper 5G chipsets and declining prices of 5G devices will contribute to the growth of 5G chipsets. The 4G chipset will decline by low-single-digit percentage in 2024 compared with that in 2023.” 

Result summary 

Counterpoint Quarterly: IoT Q3 2023



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Published date: November 6th 2023

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Counterpoint Quarterly: Smartphone Q3 2023



PDF | 114 pages
Published date: October 19th 2023

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NVIDIA and Qualcomm: Shaping the Software-defined Vehicle

  • Both NVIDIA and Qualcomm are working to exploit autonomous driving and the in-vehicle experience.
  • NVIDIA has announced a new SoC – Drive Thor – which will replace Drive Orin.
  • Qualcomm has introduced the Snapdragon Ride Flex SoC portfolio, the “industry’s first super-compute class SoC portfolio”.

The automotive industry is moving towards software-defined vehicles. We expect a centralized approach to the powerful processors that will be needed to manage the data flowing from the various sensors, and running machine learning (ML) models for safe automated driving.

NVIDIA and Qualcomm have pivoted their business to address the automotive opportunity as the traditional car is becoming an extension of computers and smartphones. Both companies are working to exploit autonomous driving and the in-vehicle experience. As the car becomes more intelligent, these two areas have the highest growth opportunities.

NVIDIA recently held its GTC event and Qualcomm an investor day focusing on its automotive business. In this blog, we will look at key announcements from both players in relation to autonomous driving and the digital cockpit.


From September 19 to September 22, 2022, NVIDIA held its bi-annual event called GTC, where it announced a new SoC – Drive Thor – which will replace Drive Orin. Earlier, at GTC 2021, NVIDIA unveiled its plan for Drive Atlan SoC to target 2025 models and replace Drive Orin. But Atlan appears to have been scrapped. So, Thor will be ready for vehicles arriving in 2025. The Thor processor is packed with high-power computing to support the idea of having a single chip to handle autonomous driving and cockpit functions. To put this into perspective, Thor can handle 2,000 trillion operations per second (TOPS), which is twice the speed of Atlan and eight times the speed of the current Orin processor.

                                                                                           NVIDIA DRIVE SoC Roadmap

NVIDIA has already announced its first partnership for Drive Thor with Chinese car company Zeekr. Thor will be first used in an EV model from Zeekr in 2025. Currently, the Drive Orin chip is used in models including the Li Auto L9, Nio ET7 and the recently launched Xpeng G9.

Qualcomm Automotive Investor Day

Qualcomm held its first-ever Automotive Investor Day in New York immediately after the conclusion of NVIDIA’s GTC. Qualcomm, whose automotive business is flourishing thanks to its connectivity and digital cockpit solutions, has seen the majority of the design wins since the launch of its Snapdragon Digital Chassis. During the event, the company introduced the Snapdragon Ride Flex SoC portfolio, which Nakul Duggal, Qualcomm’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Automotive, called the “industry’s first super-compute class SoC portfolio”. This will be a family of chips that helps Qualcomm to scale down from high tier to entry tier. The software architecture of the chips will be Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) compliant. The company has not revealed much information on the Flex SoC, but the graphics displayed during the event show that the Flex SoC will have around 2,000 TOPS of computing power to handle operations like the cockpit, driver assistance, automated driving, and connectivity functions.

                                                                                                                Snapdragon Ride Flex Soc Family
                                                                                                           Central Compute Scalable Architecture

Another announcement that underscores Qualcomm’s strong position in digital cockpit solutions is that starting in 2023, Mercedes-Benz’s in-vehicle infotainment (MBUX) will be powered by a Snapdragon chip.  Currently, Mercedes’ S-class MBUX is powered by NVIDIA chips. In the last 10 months, 20 models have been launched with Qualcomm’s digital cockpit solutions. Qualcomm sees a total automotive market of $100 billion by 2030 with ADAS/AD being the major contributor with around 60%, followed by digital cockpit with a TAM of $25 billion.

                                                                                                              Qualcomm Automotive TAM

Now, let us look at both companies to compare where they stand and which of them has the upper hand in the automotive industry:


Qualcomm has a little bigger portfolio as it has offerings in connectivity, in-vehicle infotainment and ADAS/AD domains. Qualcomm integrates all these services under one umbrella term called Snapdragon Digital Chassis. NVIDIA, on the other hand, offers solutions for the cockpit and autonomous driving but does not have a portfolio in connectivity. Hence, the battleground for the two semiconductor companies is autonomous driving and smart cabin features. NVIDIA calls its offerings for the automotive industry DRIVE.


In the second quarter of the fiscal year 2023 (FY23), NVIDIA’s automotive segment had the best quarter with revenue of $220 million, an increase of 59% QoQ and 45% YoY. FY20 saw the highest ever automotive revenue of $700 million, achieved due to the success of the Tegra processor, which once powered Tesla’s infotainment (media control unit) and instrument cluster. The automotive business has already reached the $358-million mark in the first half of FY23. With more models, like the Polestar 3 and Volvo EX90, driven by Orin chip ready to be launched this year, it is likely to cross $700 million by the end of FY23. During the Q2 earnings call, the company described Q2 FY23 as the inflection point for its automotive revenue.

                                                                                                     NVIDIA Automotive Quarterly Revenue

Qualcomm also recorded its highest ever automotive revenue in the third quarter of FY22 by reaching the $350-million mark. The automotive revenue is mainly driven by connectivity and an increase in demand for its digital cockpit products. This year, Qualcomm launched 20 new models with a digital cockpit. The future growth in the automotive business will be mainly driven by the digital cockpit. From FY26, the company is expecting its ADAS/AD services to scale up and experience a ramp-up starting in 2026.

                                                                                               Qualcomm Automotive Quarterly Revenue

Qualcomm is expecting to finish FY22 with $1.3 billion in automotive revenue, up from $975 million in FY21. At present, the cumulative automotive revenue for FY22 stands at $945 million. Qualcomm is realizing the segment’s growth potential with the current and future product roadmap. As a result, the company has increased its targets for FY26 from $3.5 billion to $4 billion. For FY31, it has revised its forecast revenue from $8 billion to more than $9 billion.

                                                                                                                      Revenue Forecast

Design-win pipeline

NVIDIA announced that its design-win pipeline had reached over $11 billion (in FY23) for the next six years from over $8 billion in FY22 due to the traction earned by the Drive Orin SoC. Currently, Orin has over 35 customers, which include automobile, truck and robotaxi companies.

                                                                                                                    NVIDIA  Design-win Logos
                                                                                                                  NVIDIA Automotive Partners

Qualcomm’s design-win pipeline has reached $30 billion, up from $19 billion two months ago, and has more than doubled in the last 10 months from $13 billion. As the automobile industry is moving towards more advanced driving systems and highly automated driving, most of the design wins are coming from ADAS/AD, followed by the digital cockpit. With over 50+ customers for the digital cockpit, ADAS/AD has not been able to mark its presence or gain traction from car companies or robotaxis like NVIDIA, barring a few customers like BMW, Stellantis, VW, Renault and Great Wall Motor. Qualcomm will announce the design win for the new Flex SoC at CES 2023.

                                                                                                                      Snapdragon Ride Design-Win
                                                                                                              Qualcomm Automotive Partnerships


NVIDIA has enjoyed early success with its chips like Parker (1 TOPS) and Xavier (30 TOPS), required to perform Level 2 and 2+ functions. The Xavier SoC can be seen on models like the Xpeng P7 and IM L7. NVIDIA, known for its high-power computing chips for gaming and data centers, leverages its technology to introduce high-power computing chips like Orin and now Thor. Due to the legacy of its GPU, AI chips and the availability of a high-power computing platform to support autonomous driving, it has generated interest from car manufacturers, robotaxi companies and self-driving truck companies like Kodiak.

Compared to its competitor, Qualcomm entered the ADAS/AD market late. During CES 2020, the company entered the self-driving market by unveiling its Snapdragon Ride Platform. The platform ranges from 30 TOPS for Level 1/2 functions to 700 TOPS for Level 4/5 applications. GM is the first company to use Snapdragon Ride for its hands-free assisted driving. The Ultra Cruise will be powered by two Snapdragon SA8540P SoCs and one SA9000 AI. The platform will be making its debut in the Chinese market in October as Great Wall Motor will start selling its Mocca DHT-PHEV LiDAR variant fitted with Snapdragon Ride. So far, Qualcomm has managed wins with few OEMs and has not been able to win any robotaxi or self-driving truck customers. With its latest announcement of Flex SoC, which will directly compete with Drive Thor, we expect Qualcomm to remedy this gap.

Both companies are adopting a similar approach of taking all their technologies and integrating them into a single chip to make it a central computing hub for the vehicle. However, the major difference is that NVIDIA is at the top of its game when it comes to advanced computing, while Qualcomm brings in a more integrated solution, from connectivity to cockpit to ADAS/AD, to get closer to NVIDIA in terms of compute capabilities but at relatively very low power. We believe that extreme low-power high computations with a very scalable architecture for battery-powered devices is Qualcomm’s biggest advantage over NVIDIA which has helped the company attract a design win pipeline almost triple of NVIDIA, as power efficiency for future EV-based vehicles is going to be the key.

It would be great to hear more about the power-versus-performance metrics which Qualcomm can achieve against NVIDIA in the months running up to CES 2023.

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Infographic: Global Foundry Revenue Share | Q2 2022

Foundry Revenue Share by Vendors

TSMC gained 200 bps in terms of market share in Q2 2022, driven by leading technology nodes for iPhone AP and HPC-related ICs. The capacity utilization rate in Q2 in leading nodes was still at 95%-100% at TSMC. Samsung lost 100-200 bps during the quarter due to weaker demand for Qualcomm’s flagship smartphone SoCs. UMC, GF and SMIC managed to maintain their shares with high capacity utilization rates.

Foundry Revenue Share by Technology Nodes

5/4nm became the second largest node in Q2 2022 in terms of revenue share, accounting for 15% of industry sales, which were driven by smartphone SoCs (Apple, Qualcomm and MediaTek), ARM-based CPUs (Apple) and newly launched GPU accelerators from NVIDIA. 7/6nm remained the largest node, with increasing applications from CPU, GPU and networking processors. Sales from matured nodes started slowing down in Q2 2022 due to inventory adjustment from driver ICs and CMOS sensors.

Foundry Infographic Q2 2022

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BoM Analysis: Xiaomi’s 12S Ultra Costs $516 After Camera, SoC, Display Upgrades to 11 Ultra

With the release of the Xiaomi 12S series in early July, Xiaomi has further expanded its flagship portfolio in its home market. The new series is also being seen as an extension of the Xiaomi 12 series, aimed at consolidating the brand’s presence in the $600 and above wholesale price band through the second half of 2022.

Xiaomi 12 Series Failed to Strengthen its Share in Premium Segments (>$600)

Counterpoint Research Xiaomi 12 Series Failed to Strengthen its Share in Premium Segments (>$600)

Thanks to promotions during the 2022 Xiaomi Fans Festival, Xiaomi managed to improve its sales share in the flagship battlefield in April. However, the brand desperately needs new flagship models to replace the Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro, whose performance has been far less than expected. Against this backdrop, Xiaomi has introduced the new Xiaomi 12S line-up with optimized user experiences.

Sitting at the top of the new series, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is a successor of the Xiaomi 11 Ultra. The latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus platform, the all-new Samsung E5 LTPO 2.0 OLED display and the industry-leading 1-inch 50MP main camera, as well as a tie-up with Leica, represent the major areas of upgrades.

According to Counterpoint Research’s BoM Analysis Practice, producing a Xiaomi 12S Ultra equipped with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage costs around $516. The market price of the model is RMB 5,999 or around $899. The processing, display and image sub-systems, along with memory, contribute nearly 67% of the total manufacturing cost. Below is the functional cost structure of the ultra-premium model.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra BoM Cost Increases to $516

Counterpoint Research Xiaomi 12S Ultra BoM Cost Increases to $516

In terms of suppliers, Qualcomm, Samsung and Sony are among the beneficiaries. Qualcomm has a wide range of design wins, from the SoC and paired power management and RF transceiver to RF front-end components, connectivity IC and audio codec. The latter two vendors provide the display panel and LPDDR5 RAM, and image sensors respectively.

Xiaomi has shipped more than 2 million Xiaomi 11 Ultra smartphones so far at the same starting price of RMB 5,999 or around $899. The Xiaomi 12 Ultra is expected to take the baton from here and help improve Xiaomi’s profitability in the ultra-premium segment.

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Qualcomm Gains Share in Smartphone AP/SoC Shipments in Q4 2021; MediaTek Continues to Lead

  • Qualcomm’s share reached 30% driven by the premium tier.
  • UNISOC had a strong Q4 with its share reaching 11%.
  • Qualcomm led the 5G baseband market with a 76% share.

Seoul, Taipei, Beijing, New Delhi, London, Boston, Toronto, Hong Kong – February 24, 2022

The global smartphone AP (Application Processor)/SoC (System on Chip) chipset shipments grew 5% YoY in Q4 2021, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Foundry and AP/SoC service. 5G smartphone SoC shipments were almost half of the total SoC shipments.

Research Director Dale Gai said, “MediaTek led the smartphone SoC market with a share of 33%. Its smartphone SoC volumes declined this quarter due to the high shipments in the first half and inventory corrections from Chinese smartphone OEMs. Many customers had built chipset inventories to manage uncertainties in the supply situation.”

On the growth outlook, Gai added, “We expect revenues to grow in Q1 2022 driven by the flagship chipset (Dimensity 9000) for smartphones. Higher 5G penetration will offset the lower seasonal demand. The increase in chipset prices after TSMC’s wafer price hike is reflected from Q4 2021 onwards. 5G migration in regions like APAC, MEA and LATAM and continued LTE demand will help MediaTek have a strong 2022.”

Global Smartphone AP/SoC Shipment Market Share (%), Q4 2020 vs Q4 2021

Source: Counterpoint Research Quarterly AP/SoC/Baseband Shipments Tracker, February 2022

Commenting on Qualcomm’s performance, Senior Analyst Parv Sharma said, “Qualcomm recorded a very strong quarter, growing 18% QoQ and 33% YoY despite component shortages and foundry capacity not being able to keep up with demand. Qualcomm was able to prioritize high-end Snapdragon sales, which come with higher profitability and less impact from shortages than mid-end and low-end mobile handsets. The company was also able to increase supplies from its major foundry partners by dual-sourcing key products. It captured a 76% share in the 5G baseband shipments driven by Apple’s iPhone 13 and 12 series and premium Android portfolio.”

Commenting on the growth opportunities, Sharma added, “Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 flagship mobile platform will start shipping from Q1 2022. The performance in Q1 2022 will be driven by design wins in the Samsung Galaxy S22 series and launches in the Chinese New Year. Overall, the next inflexion in growth will be in H2 2022 with the launch of 5G handsets by major OEMs. The share of revenues from Android is also growing as more OEMs are adopting Qualcomm’s modem-to-antenna RFFE solution across tiers.”

Global 5G Smartphone Baseband Shipment Market Share (%), Q4 2020 vs Q4 2021

Source: Counterpoint Research Quarterly AP/SoC/Baseband Shipments Tracker, February 2022


MediaTek led the smartphone SoC market in Q4 2021 with a 33% share. Shipments declined due to inventory correction as many customers had built inventories due to supply chain constraints.

Qualcomm grew 18% sequentially due to the premium segment and dual-sourcing from foundries. It dominated the 5G baseband modem shipments with a 76% share, driven by basebands for Apple and premium Android.

Apple maintained its third position in the smartphone SoC market in Q4 2021 with a 21% share. The iPhone 13 launch and festive season drove the shipments.

UNISOC continued with shipment growth this year and reached an 11% share in Q4 2021. On an annual basis, its SoC shipments more than doubled in 2021. It has expanded its customer base, securing design wins with HONOR, realme, Motorola, ZTE, Transsion and Samsung.

Samsung Exynos slipped to the fifth position with a 4% share as Samsung 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 was unable to manufacture Kirin chipsets due to the US trade ban against Huawei. The accumulated inventory of Kirin SoCs is on the verge of being exhausted. As a result, Huawei is launching its latest series with Qualcomm SoCs but is limited to 4G capabilities.

For our comprehensive research on foundries to chipsets to devices, feel free to get in touch with us at the contacts given below.


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.

Analyst Contacts:

Dale Gai
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Counterpoint Quarterly Q3 2023


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