The fabless designer MediaTek is expected to expand its horizon with the help of Chinese market, offering a variety of products to satisfy the growing demands. In the 5G chipset market of China, MediaTek’s Dimensity series of 5G chips have won over major Chinese smartphone vendors such as OPPO, Vivo and even the Honor smartphone brand previously owned by Huawei. According to CINNO Research, in 2020 MediaTek’s 5G chips accounted for 22.6% of the 5G chips adopted by four mainstream Chinese smartphone vendors, including Huawei, OPPO, Vivo and Xiaomi.
Beyond 5G, MediaTek’s product portfolio has been expanding as well. The synergy between Wi-Fi 6 and 5G, for example, also made China a growing market for MediaTek’s Wi-Fi 6 products. MediaTek has also indirectly invested in other chip design companies focusing on RF and IoT, such as the Chinese company Vanchip.
As of 2020, MediaTek’s handset chips reached a 32% global market share, overtaking Qualcomm for the first time. Counterpoint forecasts that its handset chips will continue to dominate the global market with a 37% market share. In China, the world’s largest 5G smartphone market, MediaTek’s share of 5G chipset might reach 50%, according to some estimations.
However, MediaTek is also facing potential competitions from local Chinese players backed by the government, such as Unisoc, a well-performing subsidiary of the otherwise crumbling Tshinghua Unigroup, once a champion of China’s semiconductor policy. Counterpoint indicates that Unisoc will capture 6% of the smartphone chipset market in 2021. Previously, Unisoc chips targeted the mid and low-end market, but since Unisoc’s T610 4G chips were adopted by Huawei’s Honor 20 phones, other Chinese handset OEMS have become increasingly receptive to Unisoc chips, adding to the support from the Chinese government.