Xiaomi, OV, Huawei, Honor: Chip Orders from Qualcomm & MediaTek Revealed

Understanding the Trends in Chip Purchasing by Chinese Smartphone Manufacturers

It is widely known that all domestic smartphone manufacturers in China use chips from suppliers such as Qualcomm and MediaTek. Unlike Apple, none of these Chinese smartphone companies solely rely on in-house chips and instead opt for externally sourced SoCs.

Huawei, for example, despite having its Kirin chips, still incorporates chips from Qualcomm and MediaTek in some of its phones. When Kirin chips became unavailable, Huawei had to resort to using Qualcomm’s 4G chips. Even with the later release of Kirin 9000S in limited quantities, Huawei continued to procure chips from Qualcomm.

Which companies then purchase the most chips from Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Unisoc? Recently, Canalys disclosed the customer distribution of these three major chip manufacturers in the fourth quarter of 2023, providing valuable insights into the matter.

According to the graph below, when measured by quantity, the top three purchasers of MediaTek chips are Samsung, Xiaomi, and Vivo.

As for Qualcomm chips, if quantity is the criteria, the top three purchasers are Xiaomi, Samsung, and Honor. For Unisoc chips, the top purchasers by quantity are Itel, Realme, and Lenovo.

In terms of sales revenue, MediaTek’s top three clients are Samsung, Xiaomi, and Vivo, while Qualcomm’s top three clients are Samsung, Xiaomi, and Honor. Unisoc’s top clients are Itel, Realme, and Lenovo.

This data largely correlates with the global sales figures, with Samsung leading globally, followed by Xiaomi.

Itel, focusing on budget phones, purchases the most Unisoc chips, accounting for 48% of the total orders.

The chip procurement situation for Huawei is not reflected in the MediaTek data, possibly due to lack of licensing for supplying Huawei. In the case of Qualcomm, Huawei’s orders constitute approximately 5% of the total sales.

In terms of value proportion, Huawei’s share in Qualcomm’s sales is 4%, since they utilize Qualcomm chips that are not flagship-grade and only support 4G, presumably making them slightly more affordable.

What are your thoughts on this situation? It is evident that Chinese smartphone manufacturers heavily rely on Qualcomm and MediaTek. Conversely, Qualcomm and MediaTek also depend on Chinese smartphone manufacturers, indicating a mutually beneficial partnership.

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