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China's UNISOC aims to launch 5G chipset in 2020 to rival foreign chipmakers

CKN
minutes 2019/08/07 11:37:09
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Aug 07, 2019 (China Knowledge) - UNISOC, China's second-largest mobile chip developer, aims to launch its 5G chipset in 2020, far earlier than planned, to catch up with global leaders Qualcomm and MediaTek.

UNISOC, the mobile chip unit of state-backed tech conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup, has invested around USD 200 million to improve its processes and quality.

The move comes amid the U.S.’s sanctions that curbs such export to China that lead to the speed up the development of Chinese 5G mobile networks. UNISOC is counting on demand from local companies to cut reliance on U.S. suppliers.

UNISOC has been working on wireless technology for almost two decades and has been a leading force since the 2000s in boosting the country's self-sufficiency in chips. The company says it has been preparing for 5G chips since the end of 2014.

UNISOC controlled 13% of the global market in 2018, while Qualcomm and MediaTek held 68%, IC Insights data shows. The company's clients are mostly smaller smartphone makers, such as Hisense, Lenovo Group, and ZTE. U.S. rivals mostly supply to Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi, as well as Samsung.

According to research company Trendforce, UNISOC generates annual revenues of RMB 11 bln, roughly one-tenth the sales of industry leader Qualcomm.

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