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MediaTek overtakes Qualcomm in Q2 smartphone chip market

MediaTek was the dominant smartphone chip maker for the second quarter of 2021, overtaking Qualcomm with a 43% share of the market.

That figure marks the Taiwanese semiconductor company’s highest ever share, and has forced the typically dominant Qualcomm into a distant second with a mere 24% market share.

As industry analysis firm Counterpoint points out, however, there’s more to the story than a straight-forward shift in market dominance. Qualcomm probably doesn’t need to worry too much just yet.

The main issue facing Qualcomm in Q2, it seems, was supply constraints dating back to the first half of 2021. MediaTek suffered from relatively few by comparison, and enjoyed the benefits of stable production yields from TSMC.

Qualcomm has reportedly started dual-sourcing on chip production in order to mitigate these supply issues, which should enable it to return to a dominant position in due course. It’s also notable that it continued to dominate 5G modem shipments for the same quarter, with 55% of the market compared to MediaTek’s 30%.

It’s certainly true that MediaTek has significantly stepped up its low-to-mid-market smartphone SoC game in recent times, however. Its products are no longer the poor alternatives to Qualcomm’s superior low-end offerings that they used to be perceived to be.

Take the, the OnePlus Nord 2, for instance. The famously performance-obsessed Chinese manufacturer ditched Qualcomm for the first time in its recent mid-range champ, yet the switch to a MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI chip enabled a healthy and cost-effective power boost over its predecessor – not to mention many of its Qualcomm-powered rivals.

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