MediaTek beats Apple as the Top Smartphone Chip Vendor in 2023

While MediaTek led in units shipped, Apple ($87 billion) and Qualcomm ($30 billion) still brought in more revenue due to the higher price points of their chips.

Introduction:

In a surprising turn of events, MediaTek beats Apple in terms of shipping volume for the year 2023.

The latest data from Canalys reveals a significant shift in the dynamics of the smartphone chipset market, with MediaTek claiming the top spot with a staggering 117 million smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter alone.

MediaTek is a Taiwanese semiconductor company that designs and manufactures system-on-chip (SoC) processors for various electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, smartwatches, and other IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Founded in 1997, MediaTek has grown to become one of the leading players in the global semiconductor industry.

Their SoC solutions typically integrate a wide range of components, including central processing units (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs), modems, connectivity features (such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS), and specialized hardware for tasks like image processing and artificial intelligence (AI). These integrated solutions help device manufacturers create cost-effective and power-efficient products.

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MediaTek beats Apple: Rise

MediaTek’s ascent to the top spot is attributed to its robust lineup of processors catering to a wide range of smartphones, from budget to mid-range devices.

  • Units Shipped: They shipped the most smartphone chips in Q4 2023 (117 million) compared to Apple (78 million) and Qualcomm (69 million)
  • Year-over-Year Growth: MediaTek also saw impressive growth (21%) year-over-year in chip shipments.

The company’s strategic partnerships with smartphone manufacturers across the globe have further bolstered its position in the market. With a 21 percent year-over-year increase in shipments, MediaTek’s growth trajectory is indicative of its ability to meet the diverse demands of consumers and OEMs alike.

Mediatek_apple

However, it’s important to note that:

  • Revenue: While MediaTek led in units shipped, Apple ($87 billion) and Qualcomm ($30 billion) still brought in more revenue due to the higher price points of their chips.

MediaTek beats Apple: Reasons

Despite maintaining a strong foothold in the market, industry heavyweights Apple and Qualcomm trailed behind MediaTek in terms of shipping volume.

Apple secured the second position with 78 million smartphone shipments, marking an eight percent increase compared to the previous year.

Qualcomm, on the other hand, clinched the third spot with 69 million chip shipments, reflecting a modest one percent growth.

Here are some possible reasons why MediaTek achieved the top spot in smartphone chip shipments for Q4 2023:

Focus on Mid-Range Market: MediaTek has traditionally focused on the mid-range smartphone market, which is much larger than the high-end market dominated by Apple and Qualcomm. This focus allows them to cater to a wider range of phone manufacturers and consumers looking for affordable yet powerful options.

Strong 5G Chipsets: MediaTek released competitive 5G chipsets in 2023, offering good performance and affordability compared to high-end offerings. This could have been attractive to manufacturers looking to equip their mid-range phones with 5G capabilities.

Supply Chain Advantage: Some analysts suggest MediaTek may have benefited from a more stable supply chain compared to competitors during the global chip shortage. This could have allowed them to fulfill orders more consistently.

Cost-Effectiveness: MediaTek chips are known for being more cost-effective than high-end offerings from Apple and Qualcomm. This could be a major factor for phone manufacturers looking to keep production costs down.

Read More: How to Find the Perfect RAM-Memory Match for Your Smartphone

The Rise of Unisoc and HiSilicon

Unisoc, a Chinese semiconductor company, showcased impressive growth with a 24 percent year-over-year increase in shipments, earning the fourth place position. Similarly, HiSilicon, another Chinese fabless specialist, experienced a remarkable surge in shipments, recording a staggering 5,121 percent increase, albeit from a smaller base.

Samsung’s Decline

In stark contrast, Samsung witnessed a significant decline in smartphone processor shipments, with a 48 percent drop compared to the previous year. The company’s woes can be attributed to various factors, including the increasing competitiveness of the market and the limited adoption of its Exynos chipset in flagship devices.

The preference for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset in flagship Samsung devices further contributed to the decline in Samsung’s market share.

Read More: How Apple and Qualcomm Went to $1 Billion War Over the Future of the Smartphone

Revenue Insights

While MediaTek emerged as the leader in shipping volume, Apple retained its dominance in revenue, generating a whopping $87 billion in the fourth quarter. Qualcomm secured the second position with $30 billion in revenue, followed closely by MediaTek with $23 billion.

HiSilicon witnessed an unprecedented surge in revenue, capturing the fourth position with $7 billion, reflecting a remarkable 24,471 percent increase year-over-year. However, Samsung experienced a significant decline in revenue, with a 44 percent drop compared to the previous year.

Conclusion

The smartphone chipset market witnessed a paradigm shift in 2023, with MediaTek emerging as the leading vendor in terms of shipping volume. While Apple maintained its stronghold in revenue, Qualcomm faced stiff competition from its counterparts. The rise of Chinese semiconductor companies like Unisoc and HiSilicon underscores the increasing globalization of the smartphone industry. As the market continues to evolve, it will be intriguing to see how these dynamics shape the future of smartphone processors and the competitive landscape within the industry.

Source: TechSPOT

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
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