About 795.7 million smartphone application processors will be shipped to China-based handset vendors in 2021, up 12.2% on year, forecasts Digitimes Research.
Demand for smartphone-use APs in China is increasing as vendors including Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are building up inventories aiming to ramp up their market share at the expense of Huawei, whose spun-off sub-brand Honor is also stepping up its AP purchases due to its low inventory level.
The supply of smartphone APs and other chips such as power management (PWM) ICs will remain tight in the first half of 2021 due to tight capacity at 8- and 12-inch fabs.
However, the tight supply may ease in the second half thanks to capacity expansion and improving yield rates at foundry houses. And some handset vendors are likely to adjust their AP inventories in the latter half of the year.
Digitimes Research estimates that APs for 4G smartphones will remain the mainstream of shipments to China in 2021, accounting for over 50% of total shipments.
In the second half of 2021, the ratio of APs built using 4/5nm nodes will reach 7% of all AP shipments, and 5nm products will be the majority in the 4/5nm segment.
China will continue to be the largest outlet for 5G APs in 2021, taking up 56% of the global total, with Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung Electronics being the top-3 vendors.
Both Qualcomm and MediaTek will see their market share increase significantly in the year, with the former enjoying a higher growth rate.