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Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest smartphone and memory chip maker, reported a slump in first-quarter net profits Tuesday, in the face of a weakening chip market and rising competition.
Net profits in the January-March period were 5.04 trillion won ($4.3 billion)—the lowest since the third quarter of 2016 and down 56.9 percent year-on-year.
Operating - Profit - Percent - Won - Sales
Operating profit also plunged 60.2 percent to 6.2 trillion won, while sales fell 13.5 percent to 52.4 trillion won.
The firm is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung Group, by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates that dominate business in the world's 11th largest economy, and it is crucial to South Korea's economic health.
Record - Profits - Years - Series - Setbacks
It has enjoyed record profits in recent years despite a series of setbacks, including a humiliating product recall and the jailing of its de facto chief.
But now the picture is changing, with chip prices falling as global supply increases while demand weakens.
Competition - Smartphone - Market - Rivals - Huawei—which
It also has to contend with increasingly tough competition in the smartphone market from Chinese rivals like Huawei—which in 2017 surpassed Apple to take second place—offering quality devices at lower prices.
Samsung had warned investors of a 60 percent-plus fall in first-quarter operating profits, citing weak display and chip sales.
Mobile - Displays - Demand - Competition - LTPS
"Mobile displays suffered slower demand and intensifying competition with LTPS LCDs," the company said.
"Large displays also took a hit from a continued decline in LCD panel prices amid weak seasonality."
Samsung - Shares - Percent - Morning - Trading
Samsung shares were down 0.87 percent in morning trading in Seoul.
Samsung launched its top-end S10 5G smartphone earlier this month, after South Korea won the global race to commercially launch the world's first nationwide 5G network.
Week - Decision - Release - Smartphone - Reviewers
But last week it made a high-profile decision to delay the release of its $2,000 foldable smartphone after reviewers provided with early devices reported screen problems within days of use.
While Samsung's device was not the first folding handset, the smartphone giant was...
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