The first manufacturer of chips for phones in the world is not Qualcomm

The Counterpoint "snapshot" of the global market for smartphone chips does not crown Qualcomm, second, and shows the net involution of Samsung

When talking about smartphones today one of the first technical data that is mentioned is undoubtedly the processor (SoC: System on Chip) and one of the names that you hear most often pronounced is that of Qualcomm, American giant that designs the chips and then has them produced by Taiwanese TSMC or Korean Samsung, another big name in the industry of chips for smartphones and tablets.

But it is not Qualcomm and it is not even Samsung, today, to dominate this market: the scepter of the world's largest manufacturer of chips for devices that we put in our pockets every day is definitely another: the manufacturer in question, data in hand, is now MediaTek. Samsung with its Exynos chips and Qualcomm with its Snapdragon in recent years have been the two best known companies, but quietly MediaTek worked to erode market share. Since about a year MediaTek is also back in the spotlight with the new project Dimensity, which immediately highlighted a significant level of competitiveness against the products of both Qualcomm and Samsung. Growing market shares in both the Western and Asian markets (China and India, especially) led MediaTek in the third quarter of last year to knock Qualcomm off the top of the world's manufacturers by chip sales, a position MediaTek held for the fourth consecutive quarter.

MediaTek dominates chipmakers by sales

MediaTek's recent performance, in short, can't help but make noise, and the existence of ambitious products such as the recently rumored Dimensity 2000 only heighten fears at Qualcomm and Samsung that MediaTek's rise may soon spiral out of control.

Certifying the Taiwanese manufacturer's performance are analysts from Counterpoint Research, who published the market share the company obtained in the second quarter of the year, that is, in the period from April to June 2021: it is 38%, which means top.

The analysts delved into the report noting how the Dimensity 700 chip, on the world market landscape, dominates in the 5G chip segment, while the Helio P35 and G80 do the biggest voice of all in what now resembles more of a niche, namely 4G smartphones.

In any case, 2021 is off to a great start for MediaTek, whose growth has been steady since the first quarter despite the leadership gained at the end of last year until now, in which it has confirmed itself as the number one company in the world in chip production.

The point about the other manufacturers

Qualcomm is second with a market share in the smartphone chip sector that analysts have quantified at 32%. In the last quarter, the share increased compared to the previous one, probably facilitated by the almost total disappearance of HiSilicon - a semiconductor manufacturer controlled by Huawei that, in fact, can hardly operate anymore - and the decline of Samsung and Apple.

Apple, which has a 15% share, up 2% year-on-year but 2% lower when compared to the first quarter of 2021. Apple doesn't supply chips to third parties: those it produces end up only on iPhones (and iPads and for some time now also Macs, but Counterpoint's analysis is limited to smartphones).

Samsung's drop is constant, almost clamorous if we consider that in little more than a year it has seen its market share halved: from 14% in Q1 2020 to 7% in the one just ended. Samsung had announced heavy investments to establish itself as the first semiconductor manufacturer in the world by 2030: the numbers say otherwise, a turnaround is needed.