Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone and reminiscence chip maker, reported a hunch in fourth-quarter internet income on Thursday, blaming a drop in demand for its key merchandise.
Internet income within the October-December interval have been KRW eight.46 trillion ($7.6 billion or roughly Rs. 54,000 crores), it stated, down 31 p.c year-on-year.
The agency is the flagship subsidiary of the enormous Samsung Group, by far the largest of the family-controlled conglomerates that dominate enterprise on the earth’s 11th-largest financial system, and it’s essential to South Korea’s financial well being.
It has loved document income lately regardless of a sequence of setbacks, together with a humiliating recall and the jailing of its de facto chief. However now the image is altering, with chip costs falling as international provide will increase and demand weakens.
It additionally has to cope with more and more robust competitors within the smartphone market from Chinese language rivals like Huawei – which surpassed Apple to take second place final yr — providing high quality units at decrease costs.
“Unfavourable enterprise and macroeconomic components led to slower efficiency within the last quarter,” Samsung Electronics stated in an announcement, when “earnings have been affected by a drop in demand for reminiscence chips utilized in knowledge centres and smartphones.”
It anticipated demand for chips to remain weak within the January-March interval, “on account of seasonality and macroeconomic uncertainties”.
Uncertainties over US-China commerce tensions and China’s sluggish financial system bode in poor health for international electronics makers in 2019, pressuring demand for reminiscence chips, smartphones and show panels, analysts say. However some buyers are hoping for a restoration for Samsung within the second half, fueled by chip gross sales to knowledge centres, the rollout of 5G wi-fi know-how and the launch of latest devices together with its long-promised, high-end foldable smartphone.
“If Samsung’s foldable smartphone turns into a success, it will likely be issue for Samsung’s shares,” Park Jung-hoon, a fund supervisor at HDC Asset Administration which holds Samsung Electronics inventory, advised Reuters.
The South Korean agency’s chips energy the handsets of most main smartphone makers, together with Apple and China’s market chief, Huawei. Its reminiscence and processor chips account for about 72 p.c of general revenue.
Samsung stated reminiscence demand was anticipated to stay weak within the first quarter earlier than enhancing steadily from the second, helped by gross sales to cloud-computing firms. Knowledge centres have been one of many brightest spots for the reminiscence chip market because of the rising want for cloud computing companies for the e-commerce and knowledge analytics industries. Such demand faltered late final yr, partly as a result of some Chinese language consumers appear to have purchased chips sooner than regular amid fears about US-China commerce tensions, in response to Intel. Nvidia and Intel each just lately flagged stagnating development in knowledge centre gross sales.
Samsung’s chip division fell 29 p.c to KRW 7.eight trillion (roughly Rs. 50,000 crores), the corporate stated. Its cell division logged a KRW 1.5 trillion (roughly Rs. 9,500 crores) revenue, down 38 p.c from a yr in the past. Whereas general smartphone gross sales would stay flat this yr, common costs would rise as extra units have been constructed with costly options like multi-cameras, Samsung stated.
Samsung confirmed that it’ll roll out foldable smartphones and 5G units this yr. Its new flagship Galaxy sequence shall be unveiled subsequent month, however no date has been set for the launch of the foldable system. The South Korean big has been struggling to defend its prime rank within the international smartphone market in opposition to competitors from Chinese language rivals like Huawei, which final week stated it may overtake Samsung this yr.
It stated it was “reorganising” its mass-market line-up “to raised promptly reply to fast altering market tendencies and the wants of goal prospects”. Whereas it leads the worldwide smartphone market with a 20 p.c share, “Samsung is dropping floor to Huawei, Xiaomi and different Chinese language rivals within the enormous China and India markets”, Neil Mawston of Technique Analytics stated in a report after the South Korean agency flagged the figures earlier this month.
In a bid to draw customers in China, Samsung launched a sequence of mid-range telephones final yr, together with the Galaxy A6s priced round $200 (roughly Rs. 14,000) and designed by a Chinese language producer, which the corporate stated it had by no means accomplished earlier than.
However that did little to revive its gross sales on the earth’s largest smartphone market, the place it as soon as had a 20 p.c share however has seen that tumble to lower than one p.c within the third quarter. Final month, it introduced the closure of its manufacturing unit in Tianjin.
Samsung is just not the one tech big troubled by weak Chinese language gross sales. Apple stated in an earnings report Tuesday that its income plunged nearly 27 p.c within the Larger China area in the latest quarter.
The corporate’s show companies, it stated, could be hit by “gradual gross sales of premium smartphones”, growing competitors, and “large-scale capability expansions within the business”.
For the complete yr 2018, the agency reported document internet income of KRW 44.three trillion, up 5.1 p.c year-on-year. However it projected general earnings to fall this yr, “on account of weaker efficiency by the reminiscence enterprise”.
Written with company inputs