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What just happened? MediaTek has overtaken Qualcomm to become the world's biggest smartphone chip vendor in terms of market share. According to a recent report, more than 100 million MediaTek-powered smartphones were sold in Q3 2020. This marks an approximate five percent increase compared to the previous year's sales.
The information comes from research firm Counterpoint, which explains that MediaTek's growth in key regions like China and India, combined with its strong performance in the $100-250 price bracket, are two key reasons for the company's success in Q3 2020.
MediaTek's market share currently stands at 31%, placing it narrowly ahead of Qualcomm's share of 29%.
Another reason for MediaTek's growth is the U.S. ban on Huawei, according to Counterpoint's Research Director, Dale Gai: "The share of MediaTek chipsets in Xiaomi has increased by more than three times since the same period last year. MediaTek was also able to leverage the gap created due to the US ban on Huawei. Affordable MediaTek chips fabricated by TSMC became the first option for many OEMs to quickly fill the gap left by Huawei's absence. Huawei had also previously purchased a significant amount of chipsets ahead of the ban."
Meanwhile, Qualcomm was the largest 5G chipset vendor during the Q3 2020 period, with Qualcomm chips powering 39% of 5G smartphones sold worldwide.
According to the report, demand for 5G handsets doubled in Q3 2020. Further growth is expected, especially in light of Apple's 5G-capable iPhone 12 lineup. One-third of all smartphones shipped in Q4 2020 are expected to be 5G-enabled, so Qualcomm could regain the top position this next quarter.
Research Analyst Ankit Malhotra said: "The immediate focus of chipset vendors will be to bring 5G to the masses, which will then unlock the potential of consumer 5G use cases like cloud gaming, which in turn will lead to higher demand for higher clocked GPUs and more powerful processors. Qualcomm and MediaTek will continue to contend for the top position."