Tablet application processor (AP) shipments to China are estimated to decline 24.2% sequentially to reach 26.3 million units in the first quarter of 2015. Compared to the same period a year ago, the volume will drop 7.7% and be the first time China's tablet AP shipments experience an on-year decline because of excess inventory from the fourth quarter of 2014, fewer working days in the quarter due to the Lunar New Year holidays, and seasonal factors.
In the fourth quarter of 2014, tablet AP shipments to China grew 4.7% from a quarter earlier to reach 34.7 million units, according to Digitimes Research's figures.
As for tablet AP suppliers' performances in the first quarter, top-three suppliers of the fourth quarter of 2014, MediaTek, Rockchip and Allwinner Technology will all suffer significant declines sequentially, especially Allwinner. MediaTek will see a drop smaller than Allwinner, allowing MediaTek's market share to rise slightly by 1.1pp on quarter to reach 28.5%.
Rockchip is also facing tough challenges from China's weak demand. Although the company's new tablet solutions launched at the end of 2014 were not able to achieve strong shipments, the supplier will still be able to raise its market share by 0.6pp from a quarter ago in the first quarter because of Allwinner.
Allwinner's market share will slump from 17.6% in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 15.6% in the first quarter of 2015, being surpassed by Intel, which will see its market share rise from 15% to 16.3%.
In terms of AP architecture, the Cortex-A7 will account for 53% of the overall volume in the first quarter, down slightly from 53.5% in the fourth quarter of 2014. Although more suppliers are developing 64-bit solutions, there will not be any obvious market share growth due to weak market demand.