Strong smartphone sales raise hopes of Samsung turnaround

Strong sales of the Note are limiting forecast profit falls. (AFP)
Updated 08 October 2019

Strong smartphone sales raise hopes of Samsung turnaround

  • Samsung said it has sold more than one million of the 5G Note 10 handsets in South Korea

SEOUL, Oct 8 : Strong sales of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note 10 smartphone series are limiting forecast profit falls at the South Korean tech giant, raising hopes it is getting back on a growth track after years of moribund sales.
Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, is powering ahead with the launch of 5G phones and $2,000 foldable handsets as it heats up competition with rivals US Apple and China’s Huawei following a battery explosion scandal in 2017 that hurt sales.
Analysts said the strategy may be paying off as the company on Tuesday flagged a smaller-than-expected fall in third quarter operating profit, saying at the same time that sales of the Note 10 both at home and in Europe had been strong since the Aug. 23 launch.
There are also early signs that the global memory chip business, a key driver of Samsung’s profit, will stabilize next year after prices were eroded by a weak global economy and slower spending by key data center customers.
“With its foldable smartphone that no other competitors have yet launched, Samsung will likely lead the high-end smartphone market as it would mass produce foldable smartphones next year,” said Song Myung-sup, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities.
“Also, a growing number of data center customers are ordering more memory chips ... possibly slowing down the drop in prices,” Song added.
Samsung said it has sold more than one million of the 5G Note 10 handsets in South Korea, making it the company’s fastest selling flagship model at home, and sales in Europe were also strong.
Analysts credit Samsung with receiving a boost from US sanctions on Huawei that effectively bar US firms from supplying the Chinese competitor.
Huawei’s new high-end Mate 30 smartphones are being shipped to Europe this month, but the sanctions mean the product lacks access to a licensed version of US Google’s Android operating system, as well as mobile services that include its Play Store and popular apps like Gmail, Youtube or Maps.
Jene Park, a senior analyst at market tracker Counterpoint Research, said Samsung was also moving in on Huawei at the lower end of the market in Europe and Latin America.
Sales of Huawei’s Honor smartphones, which are mainly in the $180-$249 price band and accounted for a large portion of sales outside of China, had dropped significantly since March, allowing Samsung to boost sales volumes of its new A series, according to Counterpoint.
But Huawei’s woes also present problems for Samsung as the as the world’s biggest semiconductor firm by revenue, with the Chinese firm a major buyer of its memory chips.
Some analysts are more cautious about the outlook for the global memory chip business, which remains clouded by US-Sino trade conflict and provides two thirds of Samsung’s profit.
Samsung’s profit has been slumping every quarter since the year-end holiday quarter last year and is expected to fall again in the current quarter year-on-year.
In a limited trading update ahead of full earnings later this month, Samsung on Tuesday said operating profit for the July to September quarter would likely tumble 56% to 7.7 trillion won ($6.44 billion), slightly better than the 7.1 trillion won forecast by Refinitiv SmartEstimate. It also flagged a revenue fall of 5.3% to 62 trillion won.
“The strong smartphone sales has limited ability to fix all Samsung’s issues,” said Park Sung-soon, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities. “Data center customers, a major driver for memory chip business, are pursuing conservative investment for the time being, not particularly uplifting news for Samsung.”
Shares in Samsung were up about 1.5%, just slightly ahead of an 0.8% rise in the wider market in afternoon trade.


Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

Updated 40 min 29 sec ago

Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

  • Dubai prepares for eye-catching countdown on Burj Khalifa
  • Live performances from singer Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 ambassador Hussain Al-Jassmi

DUBAI: Crowds gathered at different locations in the UAE on Sunday night to mark its one-year countdown to Expo 2020 in October next year, with host emirates Dubai staging a spectacular concert, topped by a light projection on the iconic Burj Khalifa.

American superstar Mariah Carey was the star of the night, which also saw performances from regional artists including Khalifa, Shamma Hamdan, Abri and Funk Radius, Showcase and Jaysus Zain. The audience also grooved to a few Arabic tunes from Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi.

A make-shift stage was set up at the Burj Park in Dubai’s downtown area to host the performances, while people also enjoyed a good view of the tallest building in the world. The countdown was facilitated by Emirati social media sensation Khalid Al-Ameri and Bollywood actress Shraddah Kapoor. 

A 3-minute firework display lit up the skies of Dubai as the crowd eagerly waited for Carey to appear on stage.

The 49-year-old singer sang her all-time favorite songs, including “Emotion,” “We Belong Together,” and a revival of the Motown classic “I’ll Be There,” to an enthusiastic audience who didn’t mind the heat and humidity at the outdoor venue.

The other six emirates also marked the occasion with free-for-all activities in venues such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.

The events, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Expo 2020 Director-General Reem Al-Hashimy said, will “offer a window into the once-in-a-lifetime celebration that awaits from October 20, 2020.”

“The next 12 months will see us put the finishing touches to ensure an exceptional World Expo,” she added, in a report by state-run WAM.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi featured YouTube sensation Sandra Sahi, as well as singers Stephon Lemar, Layla Kardan, the Emirati Trio.

Indian band ROOH, singer and pianist Clarita de Quiroz, Egyptian oud player Rami Zaki and other regional artists were celebrating the count down at Sharjah’s Al Marjaz waterfront.

While the Ajman Museum hosted Arabic fusion band, pop-rock musician Hydyy, Emirati soul singer Chakram, poet Storm Fernandes, artist Humaira Hussain and MC Mohammed Enaba.

The 6-month Expo 2020, to be held at a vast new site in the south of Dubai, will officially open on Oct. 20 next year, with organizers expecting an estimate of 25 million visitors.