Company Background

Qualcomm, headquartered in San Diego, started out providing contract research and development services, with limited product manufacturing, for the wireless telecommunications market. Today, Qualcomm plays a central role in the rapid adoption and growth of 3G and next-generation wireless around the world (4).

Qualcomm pioneered the commercialization of the code-division multiple access (CDMA) technology used in digital wireless communications equipment and satellite ground stations mainly in North America. It licenses CDMA semiconductor technology and system software to equipment and cell phone makers (1).  Qualcomm CDMA Technologies Segment (QCT) is a leading developer and supplier of integrated circuits and system software based on CDMA, OFDMA and other technologies for use in voice and data communications, networking, application processing, multimedia functions and global positioning system products. The MSM integrated circuits, which include the Mobile Data Modem, Qualcomm Single Chip and Qualcomm Snapdragon devices, perform the core baseband modem functionality in wireless devices providing voice and data communications, as well as multimedia applications and global positioning functions. In addition, their Snapdragon enabled integrated circuits provide advanced application processing capabilities (2).

In addition to equipment and software, the company has a plethora of intellectual property (patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets) for its technologies. The subsequent development, marketing, and commercialization of these technologies drive licensing and royalty fee revenue to a tune of almost 40% of the company’s annual total. Qualcomm also spends about 20% of its revenue on research and development (1).

Global Locations: Qualcomm has manufacture locations in the United States, Taiwan and Mexico with more than 200 other properties for sales, research and development, and repairs (2).

Suppliers and Buyers

QCT’s integrated circuit products and system software are sold to or licensed to manufacturers that use their products in wireless devices, particularly mobile phones, tablets, laptops, data modules, handheld wireless computers and gaming devices, access points and routers, data cards and infrastructure equipment, and in wired devices, particularly broadband gateway equipment, desktop computers, televisions and Blu-ray players (2).  Samsung Electronics accounts for more than 10% of Qualcomm’s annual sales and 32% of their products are sold in China (1).


Chipsets (Snapdragon® Processors, Gobi®, IZat, Hy-FI) (3)

For more information, see the Qualcomm location page.


  1. Hoover’s Inc. (2012).  “Qualcomm Incorporated Company Profile.” Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  2. Qualcomm (2011, September 25). “2011 Annual Report on Form 10-K.” Retrieved October 16, 2012 from  http://investor.qualcomm.com/annuals.cfm
  3. Qualcomm (2012). “Chipsets.” Retrieved October 16, 2012 from www.qualcomm.com/chipsets
  4. Qualcomm (2012).   “History.”  Retrieved October 16, 2012 from  www.qualcomm.com/who-we-are/history/story