Samsung revenue drops 0.5% in Q4, despite 5G smartphone leadership

Samsung Electronics said its revenue dropped 0.5 percent to 59 trillion won in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Samsung tech team workersOperating profit of Samsung in the quarter ended Dec. 31 likely fell 34 percent to 7.1 trillion won ($6.09 billion) from 10.8 trillion won a year earlier, according to preliminary results released Wednesday by the Suwon, South Korea-based company.

Annual profit of Samsung declined 53 percent to 27.7 trillion won, its lowest since 2015 and the steepest annual profit percentage drop in a decade.

Samsung didn’t provide net income or break out divisional performance. The Korean consumer electronics firm is scheduled to disclose detailed earnings results later this month.

5G smartphone leadership

Samsung’s mobile devices business is expected to report lower-than-expected shipments of smartphones for the quarter but its average selling price probably increased thanks to the Galaxy Fold, a $1,980 Android device that opens up like a book.

Samsung today said its smartphones accounted for 54 percent of the global 5G smartphone market as of November 2019, after it shipped more than 6.7 million Galaxy 5G smartphones last year, Bloomberg reported.

Samsung gained smartphone market share in Europe and Latin America at the expense of Chinese rival Huawei Technologies, which suffered from U.S. sanctions that restricted its use of services from Google on new phones.

Samsung is expected to unveil a new version of its flagship Galaxy S smartphone and another foldable phone on Feb. 11.

Chip business

The world’s biggest memory chip maker has struggled since late 2018 as a weak economy curbed spending by data center customers and rising inventories of memory chips squeezed prices, ending a two-year industry boom, Reuters reported.

Hopes for a rebound in chip prices are gaining momentum, and an expected easing in the U.S.-China trade war is creating optimism that demand from server and 5G smartphone customers will return this year.

Chip-price tracker DRAMeXchange said spot prices of DRAM chips – which provide devices with temporary workspace and allow them to multi-task – started to rebound in late 2019, and that prices are likely to stop falling in the first quarter.

Samsung’s chip and mobile earnings were better than expected, while earnings in the display business lagged. Demand recovery for servers and mobile devices helped drive chip sales, while sales of premium phones such as the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Fold lifted mobile earnings.