Graphics Card Shipments in China Down 42% Y-o-Y, Up From December

GPUs
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

It is the best of times; it is the worst of times . . . when it comes to graphics cards anyway. According to Chinese tech news site My Drivers, graphics card shipments in mainland China fell by 42 percent (opens in new tab) in January 2023 versus the prior year. However, sales are actually up by 9 percent since December 2022, showing that there is a recent upward trend.

The numbers apparently come from Bobantang (Board Channels), a Chinese blog and community. You can see in the chart below, that the green bars represent December 2022 shipments while the orange bars show January 2023. The top-selling AIB brand here is Colorful, followed by Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, Galax, Gengsheng, Maxsun and Zotac. 

Chinese GPU sales figures January 2023 vs December 2022

(Image credit: My Drivers)

The year over year drop is consistent with other data we've seen recently. As we reported back in December, shipments of discrete GPUs were down significantly (opens in new tab) year-over-year in Q3 2022 (down 15.4 percent on desktop cards alone), according to Jon Peddie Research

Graphics card sales are likely shrinking in China for the same reasons they have fallen elsewhere in the world. Crypto Mining with PC GPUs is no longer profitable and miners accounted for a significant portion of demand up until the Ethereum merge was completed last year. Also, the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns led to a major PC upgrade cycle which now has subsided. 

Consumers may also be looking at the current graphics offerings as in transition. The latest-generation GPUs from both Nvidia and AMD are only available in expensive, high-end SKUs that are beyond the reach of anyone with a modest budget. Nvidia's cheapest 4000 series graphics card right now is the RTX 4070 Ti, which goes for around $800, while Radeon 7900 XT cards -- the bottom of AMD's RDNA 3 stack -- go for about the same price. 

People may be waiting to see more affordable options such as an RTX 4060 or Radeon RX 7600 come to market before they do their next upgrades. However, if you are looking for high performance and can afford the premium, the Nvidia RTX 4090 and AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX currently dominate our list of the best graphics cards.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.
  • PlaneInTheSky
    December 2022 shipments while the orange bars show January 2023 .Graphics card sales are likely shrinking in China for the same reasons they have fallen elsewhere in the world. Crypto Mining with PC GPUs

    Ethereum crashed all the way back in early 2022. That's seriously not the reason GPU shipments are down in 2023. Even if it's a YoY comparison, miners have long stopped buying GPU.

    People just aren't buying overpriced GPU.

    Games like Forspoken and Wild Hearts are unoptimized pieces of garbage.

    And Unreal Engine is such a horrible engine for PC, with all the shader compiles causing stuttering. Every PC game using Unreal Engine is a laggy mess, no matter if you have a GT1030 or RTX4090.
    Reply
  • purple_dragon
    Reality is PC parts and pre-builts are going back to normal, pre-pandemic levels. It is not a drop in sales it is a return to normalcy for the market.
    Reply
  • purple_dragon
    PlaneInTheSky said:
    Ethereum crashed all the way back in early 2022. That's seriously not the reason GPU shipments are down in 2023. Even if it's a YoY comparison, miners have long stopped buying GPU.

    People just aren't buying overpriced GPU.

    Games like Forspoken and Wild Hearts are unoptimized pieces of garbage.

    And Unreal Engine is such a horrible engine for PC, with all the shader compiles causing stuttering. Every PC game using Unreal Engine is a laggy mess, no matter if you have a GT1030 or RTX4090.

    I agree that game engines are terribly optimized these days. If they are optimized at all, games before high speed internet had to work out of box but now they just drop day 1 patches and if your lucky six months later the game actually works as it should have from the start. While still needing more polishing.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    purple_dragon said:
    Reality is PC parts and pre-builts are going back to normal, pre-pandemic levels. It is not a drop in sales it is a return to normalcy for the market.
    It is worse than a "return to normalcy" since everyone who had to do an out-of-cycle upgrade due to COVID will be out of the market for however many years they normally go between upgrades, so you can expect at least 2-3 more years before demand goes back to normal. In the meantime, we can expect more "GPU/GPU/motherboard/etc. sales hit 20+ years low" type stories, especially if prices stay up as much as they have lately.
    Reply
  • Amdlova
    Good news. Need to crash and burn...
    Reply
  • octavecode
    This is a necessary step for the prices to get back to normal.
    PC hardware got so expensive over the years so this has to happen.
    I guess their mining customers dont need them anymore. bummer
    This is all music to my ears , while im still waiting for hardware that doesn't burn my pocket or my room or my electricity bill.
    Reply
  • BX4096
    PlaneInTheSky said:
    Unreal Engine is such a horrible engine for PC, with all the shader compiles causing stuttering. Every PC game using Unreal Engine is a laggy mess, no matter if you have a GT1030 or RTX4090.

    We may be playing different titles but I've rarely had any problems with Unreal Engine on my setup. The only issue I recall is texture pop-in in older titles, but that was a rather ubiquitous issue for most big level/open world games back then and not something I recall seeing more recently.

    The engine itself is almost a work of art, especially compared to something like Unity, but it's still just a framework for game developers to build upon. So whatever issues you're experiencing are likely the game's developers fault, not the engine's. A tool is only as good as the hands that wield it.
    Reply
  • RichardtST
    BX4096 said:
    A tool is only as good as the hands that wield it.

    Amen.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    Yeah, the unreal engine is awesome. I don’t know what the hate is for. UE has been a staple for decades now.
    Reply