Unisonic, the most prominent Chinese manufacturer of mobile phone-specific chips, is fast becoming an essential player on the world stage in its quest to challenge the dominance of the traditional players like the Taiwan-based MediaTek and US giant Qualcomm.
The Shanghai-based fabless chip maker shipped more smartphone processors by 147 times during the September quarter from the same time last year, which surpassed 4.1 million, as per the results of the survey conducted by Chinese market research firm CINNO published this week.
UNISOC Chipset Platform - SC9832E, Source: Youtube, UNISOC
According to researchers, the sales increase was fueled by the demand from customers such as Huawei's brand with a budget spin-off Honor, Nokia, and Chinese smartphone manufacturer Doov. The Unisoc top-of-the-line Tiger T610 chip - reportedly produced from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company - is included in Honor's low-cost Play 5T and Changwon 20 phones.
Although Union is rapidly gaining ground, it still ranked last of the five companies studied.
Taiwan, the fabless chipmaker MediaTek tops the list by delivering 28.8 million units sold in the last quarter, an increase of 25 percent year over the previous year.
California-based Qualcomm placed in second place with the same number of units shipped, which increased by 32 percent over the previous year. Qualcomm is a California-based company. US company made its way into the mid-and low-end processors for smartphones by taking advantage of the demise of Huawei's design division HiSilicon, which saw its sales drop by 77 % due to US sanctions.
Qualcomm's share of the market for mid-range phones, made up of smartphones with chips priced between 22,000 dollars (US$312) and 5 000 yuan, grew by 22 percent.
Top 10 Semiconductor Companies in the World, Source: Youtube, Daily Knowledge
Apple was third; it was able to ship 9.4 million smartphone chips over the same time frame, an increase of 8.1 million units in the previous year due in part to high demand for the brand's newly launched iPhone 13 series launched in the middle of September. Apple's sales are purely captive because it does not sell to third-party vendors.
However, Unison's explosive sales growth has been an opportunity in the history of Tsinghua Unigroup, a sprawling conglomerate that is a part of China's most prestigious university. The once-highly successful company, which has several semiconductor companies, is undergoing an unplanned restructuring of its bankruptcy after investors brought it to court in July. Unigroup has announced that it is seeking deep-pocketed new investors to provide a full bailout so that it doesn't have to sell its precious semiconductor assets on its own.
The ascent of Unisoc is happening amid China is seeking to expand its chip manufacturing capacity that is already mature with a focus on the 28-nanometre or higher technology nodes to improve their supply chain safety.
China is still heavily dependent on foreign chips to produce its products in great demand throughout the world. Between January and September, China imports US$312.6 million worth of chips and US$25.1 milliards worth of equipment used in chip manufacturing which was up by 24 percent and 35 percent from year to year, respectively.
China is at present one of the most advanced nations in information technology. This is an enormous challenge for America.
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