Chipmaker MediaTek “hit a rough patch” in the first half of 2017, as it struggled to compete with rival Qualcomm in the smartphone application processor market, Strategy Analytics said.

“MediaTek’s weak portfolio coupled with increased competition from Qualcomm contributed to its share losses in H1 2017,” Stuart Robinson, executive director of Strategy Analytics’ handset component technologies service, said.

MediaTek’s flagship Helio X enjoyed little success, while its mid-range Helio P line performed strongly, leading the company to focus on the  latter to “optimise its investment and to recover market share”.

Companies using MediaTek processors include Honor, Meizu, Alcatel, Lenovo, LG, Xiaomi, Sony and HTC.

However, the research company also said it believes MediaTek’s modem technology is “still generations behind” Qualcomm.

While MediaTek holds an established position in mass-market devices it had been looking to move into higher-value segments and flagship devices.

But with Apple and Samsung having their own chip operations (and Samsung also working with Qualcomm), this segment is a tough one to play in.

According to Strategy Analytics, Qualcomm maintained its smartphone application processor revenue share leadership at 42 per cent, followed by Apple and MediaTek with 18 per cent each. The top five was completed by Samsung LSI and Spreadtrum Communications.

Sravan Kundojjala, associate director at Strategy Analytics, said the company “believes that Qualcomm is poised for further share gains through 2017 with its strengthened Snapdragon 600 series of application processors”.

As a whole, the global smartphone application processor market declined by 5 per cent year-on-year, to stand at $9.4 billion.