Qualcomm still dominates the market, with a 53-percent revenue share. Apple ranks second at 15 percent, while MediaTek got the bronze with an 11-percent share. Samsung came in fourth, trailed by Spreadtrum, a fabless Chinese chipmaker that specializes in TD-SCDMA 3G-enabled parts.
So how did it end up so high in the rankings? Well, Spreadtrum is the third biggest player in China, a market traditionally dominated by MediaTek. While Qualcomm and MediaTek started to focus on mid-range parts for the local market, Sptreadtrum decided to churn out cheaper, low-end parts.
“Strategy Analytics estimates that low-cost suppliers MediaTek and Spreadtrum together captured over one-third volume share in the smartphone applications processor market in Q2 2013, thanks to the smartphone boom in emerging markets,” said Sravan Kundojjala, Senior Analyst, Strategy Analytics. “MediaTek and Spreadtrum’s improving global footprint coupled with their maturing product portfolio could spell a threat to global players such as Qualcomm, Broadcom, NVIDIA and Intel.”
Qualcomm still has a virtual monopoly in the LTE market and it is expected to further strengthen its position as Snapdragon 800 parts end up in more designs. However, it is losing share in China.
Although Samsung and Apple rank relatively high, they don’t exactly have a habit of selling their chips to competing handset makers, and even if they did, they don’t exactly make cheap chips, so the China market is practically up for grabs.