Samsung reports decline in profit but anticipates business improvement driven by chips

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics on Wednesday reported an annual 34% decline in operating profit for the last quarter as sluggish demands for its TVs and other consumer electronics products offset hard-won gains from a slowly recovering computer chip market.

The South Korean technology giant said it expects its business to improve throughout 2024, forecasting larger demands for semiconductors that power artificial intelligence features increasingly used in smartphones, personal computers and other products. However, macroeconomic uncertainties could continue to affect its business in the near-term.

Samsung’s operating profit was measured at 2.8 trillion won ($2.1 billion) for the three months through December, compared to 4.3 trillion ($3.2 billion) from the same period last year. Its operating profit for the full year 2023 was at 6.5 trillion won ($4.8 billion), which marked an 85% decline from 2022 and represented the company’s lowest since 2008, when global markets were weathering a financial crisis.

While the company’s semiconductor division posted a loss of 14.9 trillion won ($11 billion) in 2023, the losses narrowed during the fourth quarter, with the DRAM business returning to profit. The company said in October that it plans to more than double its production capacity of advanced high-bandwidth memory chips in 2024 to respond to demands created by AI.

“In 2024, the memory business expects the market to continue to recover despite various potential obstacles, including interest rate policies and geopolitical issues,” Samsung said in a statement.

The company is also focused on boosting its sales of its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S24, which is built with an array of new features enabled by AI, including live translation during phone calls in 13 languages and 17 dialects.

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