Xiaomi launched its latest tablet in China last night -- a budget offering with an 8-inch display that pitches itself as being the first to be powered by the Snapdragon 660 processor.

The Mi Pad 4 has a starting price of US$168. (Picture: Xiaomi)

The Mi Pad 4’s release comes at a tough time for tablets, whose shipments have declined for 14 straight quarters, according to figures from IDC.

The first quarter of 2018 saw an almost 12 percent year-on-year decline -- equivalent to more than four million tablets.

Of those sold, Apple still dominates with 29% market share, almost double that of its closest Android rival Samsung.

Among China’s tablet vendors, Huawei is the biggest -- sitting at third overall with 10% market share, while Xiaomi doesn’t rate a mention in the top five.

Xiaomi says the device can be used with one hand. (Picture: Xiaomi)

Xiaomi will be hoping the budget price tag -- which starts at US$168 for the entry-level model -- will prove popular with Chinese consumers.

On the spec front, the Mi Pad 4 comes with either Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + LTE -- along with either 3GB or 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of storage.

It’s also the first tablet to come with the Snapdragon 660 processor -- a mid-range chip also found in the Vivo X21 as well as Xiaomi’s Mi A2 and Mi 6X smartphones.

Design wise, this model is smaller than its predecessor meaning the device can be used with one hand. It also lacks a fingerprint sensor, with facial recognition taking its place.

There’s no news yet on a US release, but the company has made no secret of its desire to enter the US market with its smartphones in the near future.