Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi appears to be in the process of making its own chipsets for its entry and mid-level smartphones, according to unconfirmed reports by Gizmo China. In fact, reports have accumulated over the summer since Xiaomi first established an alliance with a major fabless Chinese semiconductor company earlier this year. Most authoritative among them are articles by EE Times’ correspondent Junko Yoshida in May and June quoting insiders to the effect that Xiaomi feels the need to differentiate its offering with its own silicon. New details have emerged that prompt us to share the following.
At present Xiomi uses Qualcomm and Mediatek chipsets for its smartphones. According to Gizmo China, as noted above, Xiaomi will release two different versions of its independent processor next year. The first one will be a low-end chip which will be used in Xiaomi’s super cheap Redmi series. The second version is said to be a higher-end octa-core chip which will be used for its mid-range devices. Though Xiaomi is expected to continue relying on Qualcomm for its high-end smartphones, the move could put a serious dent in Qualcomm’s smartphone business, which accounts for more than 90% of the company’s total revenue. Apple and Samsung already design their own processors.
Recently, Xiaomi hired Qualcomm’s head of China operations to serve as its senior vice president of strategic cooperation. Xiaomi was also recently reported to have acquired the licenses to create its own ARM-based processors. ((Xiomi Is Important To Qualcomm, Seeking Alpha, August 31, 2015)) Clearly, the move seems to be afoot, even in the absence of company confirmation.