A recent graphics card market sell-in data dump from China industry sources makes interesting reading. It appears to reveal that desktop GPU shipments into China in December were down 19% compared to the previous month, which is quite a precipitous drop. The biggest drop by volume was clearly in Gigabyte / Aorus branded cards. China's BoBanTang boardchannels is the source of the below chart, as picked up by MyDrivers and annotated in English by yours truly.
Starting at the left of the bar chart, you can see that Colorful is the biggest of the top eight desktop GPU suppliers in China. However, the homegrown brand's December shipments to customers in China looked significantly down and were obviously a major contributor to the 19% slump.
Second-placed Asus' shipments were pretty steady, just down slightly. However, other Taiwanese firms like Gigabyte and MSI saw more serious shipment drops. Gigabyte's drop in shipments was perhaps the most dramatic, and one might estimate that Gigabyte / Aorus branded cards shipped to China were perhaps 40 percent down on the previous month.
Reasons Behind the Significant Fluctuations
Such market fluctuations are often quite complex to fathom, with multiple supply and demand-side factors of various impacts at play. The source article quotes some obvious causes for the shipment downturn, mentioning Covid outbreaks affecting both production and distribution of GPUs. It also mentions the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday (early Feb) which some suppliers might be holding back stocks for – to get a higher price.
Some other factors encouraging Taiwanese producers like Gigabyte and MSI to redirect shipments will be the prospect of better prices outside of China. In June last year, we reported on ASRock seeing Chinese crypto mining demand waning, with the potential to negatively affect price trends in the country. Another impact on PC gaming and components demand in China will be the recently introduced limits on gaming time for minors.
Last but not least, fewer desktop GPU shipments into China, and it is a huge market, could mean better supplies for the rest of the world. With the sad state of the GPU market, we have to grasp for these thin threads of hope.
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Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.