MediaTek Inc (聯發科), the leading chip supplier for Chinese smartphones, has become the biggest supplier to China’s “white-box” tablet makers, according to Topology Research Institute (拓墣產業研究所).
China’s white-box makers may have little brand recognition, but the companies are managing to ship 100 million cheap tablets to their domestic market this year, a steady increase from 80 million units last year and 60 million units in 2012, the Taipei-based institute said.
Many of the white-box tablets retail at 200 to 400 Chinese yuan (US$32 to US$64), well below an average of 1,000 to 2,000 yuan that big brands’ tablets cost, Topology said.
MediaTek, whose China market share is growing at a respectable rate thanks to the affordability of its high-performance chips, accounted for 29.5 percent of China’s white-box tablet chip market in the fourth quarter of last year, jumping from only 1.8 percent a year earlier to seize the top place, Topology said.
The Hsinchu-based company has edged out two leading Chinese chip designers. Rockchip Electronics Co (瑞芯微電子) is now in second place and Allwinner Technology Co (全志科技) in third, accounting for 22.1 percent and 20.6 percent of the market share in the fourth quarter, respectively.
In comparison, US chipmakers Nvidia Corp and Qualcomm Inc took only 3.2 percent and 2.1 percent in the last quarter of last year, according to Topology’s tallies.
MediaTek’s success is a result of its offerings in the form of integrated solutions that could shorten the product development time for white-box tablet vendors to as low as three months, compared with an industry average of more than six months, Topology researcher Michael Zuo (左鵬飛) said in an interview with reporters.
That will give MediaTek a competitive advantage of at least two quarters over its rivals this year in the cut-throat Chinese white-box tablet market, which is crowded with price-sensitive consumers, Zuo said.
MediaTek is scheduled to hold a conference call tomorrow to release its first-quarter earnings results and is to offer the company’s business guidance for the current quarter.
In the January-to-March quarter, the company reported revenue of NT$46.01 billion, up 15.6 percent from the previous quarter and ahead of market consensus of between NT$44 billion and NT$45 billion.