Samsung could lose market share in the smartphone SoC sector this year: are the estimates of Counterpoint Research, according to which it will go from 11% to 8%. The South Korean company should be the only one, together with Huawei’s HiSilicon, to suffer a contraction; all the others, such as MediaTek, Qualcomm, Apple and even Unisoc, should grow.
It is important to specify that the analysis focuses on the real SoC market, not on the foundry market, which the chips are involved in producing them materially: they are two markets in close contact with each other, but profoundly different – in fact Samsung is the only company involved in both designing and manufacturing chips, while all the others are, as they say, fabless, and they rely on third-party foundries (mainly TSMC and, of course, Samsung) for the material production.
Understanding the collapse of HiSilicon is not difficult: the US Ban continues to be in force, and in fact in recent months it has further tightened, effectively isolating the Chinese giant also from foundries. In general, the growth of the entire sector will be very limited – just 3%, due to a global chip crisis that is still a long way off.
It is interesting to observe that MediaTek should be the company that will grow the most, having already surpassed Qualcomm in 2020: Counterpoint’s theory is that MediaTek is better positioned in the medium / low range, which concerns less refined chips, manufactured in older production processes less congested with orders.
The market for 5G modem-equipped chips is expected to grow sharply this year, and once again MediaTek should be the author of the most substantial leap forward, bringing itself substantially on a par with Qualcomm and Apple, thanks to the spread of 5G on less prestigious device ranges. The three should represent almost 90% of the entire sector. Samsung will remain stable at 10%.