There is an ongoing global chip shortage, but you might not think that’s the case after hearing Counterpoint Research’s latest market analysis report. At least as far as smartphones are concerned, the application processor (AP) and System-on-Chip (SoC) industry seem to still be on the rise, despite those economic odds. Perhaps more interesting is the revelation that, for yet another quarter, MediaTek has managed to wrest the top position from Qualcomm, though that lead might soon narrow or even be lost in the coming months.
According to the research firm, the AP/SoC market grew by 31% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year. Given the ongoing constraints on supplies and logistics, that’s a pretty big improvement. Then again, the rush to buy smartphones since last year and the heavy push towards 5G conspired to generate more smartphone sales than ever before.
MediaTek is the biggest winner last quarter, with a 43% market share up from 26% in the second quarter of 2020. Its growth is being attributed to its focus on flooding the mobile market with low-mid 5G chips as well as continued and aggressive push in the existing 4G LTE market.
Although Qualcomm’s market share dropped slightly from 28% to 24% last quarter, Qualcomm actually retained the lead in the 5G segment, nearly doubling its share from 29% to 55%. That was largely driven by strong demand for iPhones with Qualcomm’s 5G modems inside as well as the new batch of high-end smartphones. Unfortunately, it was significantly hit by yield issues and supply constraints in the first half of 2021.
Counterpoint Research, however, predicts that Qualcomm could soon narrow the gap with MediaTek in the coming quarters. Qualcomm has reportedly already secured extra capacity at TSMC for the rest of the year, but the latter’s recently announced price hike could also affect both Qualcomm’s supplies as well as its prices.