Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had great news for investors regarding sales in China. The company said this week that it sold more iPhones in China than it has in any other quarter. That means that in Greater China alone, Apple sold more than 10.4 million iPhones. In addition to that tidbit, Stifel analysts are looking at an interesting correlation they say could shed some additional light on how Apple did during the December quarter.

Correlating Apple’s shipments with M-Flex

Analyst Aaron C. Rakers and his team examined the December quarter results and March quarter outlook from Multi-Fineline, or M-Flex. They said although investors should always consider possible share shifts among Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s suppliers, the graph they put together does show some interesting perspectives.

The chart shows the correlation between M-Flex’s Apple revenue and Apple’s reported iPhone and iPad shipments. As you can see, over the last several years, as M-Flex’s Apple revenue increases, so do Apple’s iPhone and iPad sales.

Apple Revenue Chart

Hints about Apple from Multi-Fineline

The Stifel team notes that in the September quarter, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) made up about 73% of Multi-Fineline’s total revenue, which was a 72% sequential increase in revenue. Also M-Flex reported that its preliminary results from the December quarter indicate a nearly 100% sequential increase in net sales to newer customers, which made up 23% of total revenue for the quarter. That’s compared to the September quarter, when newer customers made up 12% of M-Flex’s total sales. The Stifel team said this data implies a 2% to 3% sequential decline in revenue from non-newer customers like Apple during the December quarter.

In addition, they note that M-Flex reported that it expects to see its revenue fall as much as 40% sequentially for the March quarter. However, they also point out that the company saw a 40% sequential revenue decline in the March quarter of last year, so if that happens again, this would put this year’s first quarter in line with last year’s first quarter.

Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose as much as 2% in intraday trading.