MediaTek Overtakes Qualcomm in Mobile Chip Market For Q3 2020 (chart)

2020 continues to upset long-lasting trends as MediaTek overtook Qualcomm with the number of mobile chips shipped in Q3.

Before this author delves into the what, when and how of this headline, let's get some introductions out of the way. Qualcomm, an American telecommunications company founded in 1985, has more or less become the standard bearer of high-end mobile chips. Owing multiple patents in the telecomm world, combined with its expansion into semiconductor materials for devices such as laptops, the company also seems very well-suited to the task.

Its competitor, the Taiwan-based MediaTek, has also garnered a quiet reputation for itself, making chips for all tech devices. Other than the chips giving a solid performance (if not to the same extent as Qualcomm), they also come at a much more affordable rate than other products in the market. Even if Qualcomm offers a better return for its value, MediaTek's balance between quality and cost-effectiveness has carried it all the way to this point.

The overtaking by MediaTek happened in the 3rd quarter of 2020 (Q3), marking a huge success for the company. Counterpoint, a research analysis company, revealed that MediaTek owned 31% of the market share, followed by Qualcomm at 29%. A big reason for this can be chalked down to its success in India and Latin America. Marketplaces that, due to highly dense populations and a huge disparity in annual income, tend to place value in cheaper goods, especially if they come with decent quality. The ban of Huawei products, another affordable competitor, in the USA didn't hurt either.

It's not all bad news for Qualcomm, however, as the company has its foot firmly planted in the burgeoning 5G mobile market. Owning 39% of the market share in that area, and with 5G primed to take the mobile industry by storm, Qualcomm might just be gearing up for a quick recovery in, if not Q4 of this year, then certainly at some point in 2021.

In other news, the Huawei-owned Hisilicon has surprisingly maintained a 12% share in the market, same as Q3 2019. Which, other than marking the company's resilience, may also be proof that its hold never relied all that much on the USA. Then again, there's been no growth either, so there are ramifications to be dealt with. Samsung saw a drop from 16 to 12% in the market share over the past year, which doesn't bode well for its Exynos product. Finally, Apple grew a measly 1%, bringing up its share over the year to 4% of the market. Which can't be good, but Apple's heavy reliance on its device market means that the company isn't worries about fall-back from this.
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