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Samsung Electronics fourth-quarter profit sags

Posted by Nuttapon_S On January - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

(Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd posted its first decline in quarterly profit in two years, hit by one-off special bonus as well as slowing smartphone sales as it braces for a year of tougher competition with rival Apple Inc.

The world’s biggest smartphone maker kept its full-year investment plan conservative and warned it would be difficult to increase earnings in the first quarter as demand pulls back from the year-end holiday period.

October-December operating profit fell 6 percent on year to 8.3 trillion won ($7.7 billion), in line with a previous estimate of 8.3 trillion won, Samsung said in a statement on Friday.

The figure was brought down by an 800 billion won ($745 million) special employee bonus to commemorate 20 years since Chairman Lee Kun-hee announced a management strategy that the company regards as the catalyst to its recent growth.

It said a stronger won also hit profit, knocking off around 700 billion won.

Shares of Samsung Electronics, worth $204 billion, edged up 0.4 percent after the earningsrelease, compared with the benchmark index which fell 0.3 percent. The stock has fallen 8 percent in the past month on concern over slowing smartphone growth.

“It will be challenging for Samsung to improve its earnings in the first quarter as the weak seasonality of the IT industry will put pressure on demand for components and TV products,” the company said in a statement.

Samsung said its 2014 capital expenditure, a barometer of broader technology industry demand for manufacturing tools such as chip equipment, will be similar to 2013’s 23.8 trillion won.

Operating profit at its cash cow mobile division stood flat at 5.47 trillion won, but slipped 18 percent from July-September’s record 6.7 trillion won as new iPhones drew away sales during the year-end holiday period.

Operating profit from display unit Samsung Display tumbled 90 percent to 110 billion won as weaker-than-forecast sales of the Galaxy S4 left smartphone screens sitting in the inventory, while subdued sales of television sets also had an impact on TV screen shipments.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

Despite announcing plans to flood the market with a number of new HD and Ultra HD TVs, Samsung still found room in its CES booth for the first 8K TV we’ve seen from the manufacturer. Labeled as QUHD or Quad Ultra HD, it’s also only the second flatscreen with 7,680 x 4,320 pixels that we’ve seen, period. Still, our eyes may be getting jaded as a result of all the super high-res displays we’ve seen lately because this one didn’t have the shock value Sharp’s 8K Super Hi-Vision screen garnered with its debut a couple of years ago.

Another reason could be the demo content, as Samsung opted for a Robin Sparkles-ish mall scene that was impressive in its sharpness and realism, but didn’t exactly draw us in as viewers and the crowded booth gave little room to take it all in. The demo video even magnified specific sections at time to emphasize the 8K res, but we’d prefer a reel with more action. Check after the break for a few more close up pictures and let us know if you can see the 8K difference.

Samsung Electronics forecasts fall in profit

Posted by Nuttapon_S On January - 7 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones and TVs, has forecast a fall in profit for the October-to-December quarter.

It expects to make an operating profit of 8.3 trillion won ($7.8bn; £4.8bn) for the quarter, down 18% from the previous three months.

Compared with the same period in the previous year, it is a 6% decline.

Samsung did not say what caused the dip, but analysts said falling profit margins for smartphones had hurt it.

“As the growth in the smartphone sector matures, and vendors seek expansion in emerging economies, both prices and operating margins have been coming down,” Manoj Menon, managing director of consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, told the BBC.

Mr Menon added that profit margins of smartphone makers were likely to “remain under pressure” in the coming months.

Increasing competition

Samsung has enjoyed robust growth in recent years, fuelled in part by the success of its smartphone division.

The success of its Galaxy range of smartphones saw the South Korean firm displace Nokia as the world’s biggest phone maker in 2012.

However, competition in the sector has increased with other phone makers launching new products.

One of Samsung’s biggest rivals, Apple, launched two new models of its iPhone – the top-end 5S and a cheaper 5C – in September.

Also in September, Nokia – whose phone division has been bought by Microsoft – unveiled two new phone models.

Taiwanese firm HTC launched its latest handset, the Android-powered One Max, in October.

Analysts said it was likely that the increased competition, especially the launch of new models by Apple, had hit Samsung’s performance in the last quarter.

“Clearly Samsung is now facing its stiffest competition in the smartphone sector,” said Mr Menon.

“Apple did launch its new phones during the quarter and early estimates indicate that they may have had a record quarter for iPhone sales.

“That may also have taken some consumers away from Samsung and hurt its revenue and profits,” he added.

Chinese market

Samsung is likely to face further competition in the coming months in China – the world’s biggest mobile phone market.

This is after rival Apple agreed a deal to sell phones to subscribers of China Mobile – the country’s biggest carrier with more than 760 million subscribers.

Analysts have said the deal, coupled with the launch of a new cheaper version of the iPhone, may help boost Apple’s share of the Chinese market – currently dominated by Samsung.

The South Korean firm is currently the biggest mobile phone vendor in China. It had an 18.3% share of the China market in the July-to-September quarter, according to research firm IDC.

Meanwhile, some analysts suggested that Samsung’s fourth-quarter earnings may also have been affected by a special bonus given to employees and higher marketing costs.

“Samsung’s special incentive payments to employees including domestic and overseas units appear to have been much larger than the market expected,” said Kim Young-chan, tech analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.

“Marketing costs of its mobile business might have also been larger.”

CES 2014: Samsung Smart Home aims to connect devices

Posted by Rattana_S On January - 6 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Samsung has announced a system to link together a household’s various gadgets, appliances, and utility controls.

It said one way the Smart Home service could be used would be to turn off a home’s lights and TV if the owner said “going out” into a smartwatch app.

Samsung said the service would initially be limited to its own products, but added it planned to support third parties’ devices in time.

However, one expert doubted the firm’s rivals would support the idea.

“Samsung is the most aggressive competitor that exists,” said Martin Garner, who covers connected homes technologies for the consultancy CCS Insight.

“So, why would another manufacturer want to use its platform?”

The South Korean firm will show off the technology at its booth at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) when it opens in Las Vegas on Tuesday,

Other companies are expected to demonstrate competing visions at the event.

Archos has already said it will show off an Android-powered Smart Home Tablet designed to control and access information from other connected devices.

LG will also show off its HomeChat system, announced last year, which allows owners to control devices by sending them SMS-based text messages.

‘Grand vision’

Samsung said its new service would initially offer three features:

  • Device Control: Devices including air conditioners and lights can be turned on and off via a smart device app. This can be done whether the user is at home or elsewhere, and includes support for voice commands that can also be spoken into its new TV remote controls.
  • Home View: Cameras built into TVs and other appliances can be used to provide real-time video feeds to a user’s smartphone, allowing them to keep an eye on their property when out.
  • Customer Service: Appliances will notify the app if a part needs to be cleaned or replaced, for example sending an alert if a fridge light burns out or if a washing machine filter is clogged.

The firm said its Smart Home app would initially run on selected Samsung TVs, smartphones, tablets and its Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

It will work by sending messages to remote computer servers that in turn send data to Samsung’s range of internet connected air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, robot vacuum cleaners, LED lights and digital cameras.

The company added that it intended to expand the platform to support healthcare products, door locks and unspecified “eco-home applications” at a later date, and would also release a software protocol to enable other device-makers to link up their machines.

However, bearing in mind doubts over whether competitors would co-operate, CCS Insight suggested the firm would struggle to realise its goal.

“Samsung have had the same connected home vision for a while, but their implementation of it was a bit ragged,” said Mr Garner.

“In the past they had different apps for different appliances and they didn’t all join up. It sounds like they’ve tidied that up quite nicely now.

“But the thing we worry about is that brand loyalty across appliance categories isn’t strong – research suggests if you buy a Samsung TV you don’t become more likely to buy a Samsung fridge rather than one from another manufacturer.

“So, just having a grand vision like this doesn’t mean people will go for it.”

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