SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics posted a 58.57 percent rise in first-quarter net profits on Thursday, largely driven by steady memory chip demand and brisk smartphone sales.
The world’s biggest memory-chip maker is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung group, by far the largest of the family-controlled empires known as chaebols that dominate business in South Korea, Asia’s fourth largest economy.
The conglomerate is crucial to the South’s economic health — its overall turnover is equivalent to a fifth of the national gross domestic product.
The firm said net profit in the January-to-March period was 11.32 trillion won ($8.9 billion) — up 58.57 percent from the same period year earlier.
The tech industry has been hit hard by a shortage of components for chipmaking, blamed on a boom in global demand for electronic products and disruption to supply chains caused by the pandemic.
But analysts say this has largely been benefitting the world’s leading chipmaker.
Last year saw a surge in chip prices amid strong demand for those used in personal devices and data centres, helping the firm hit record annual sales.
Samsung’s performance “continues to be lifted by the semiconductor segment, supported by memory chip — both DRAM and NAND — demand from data centers,” Gloria Tsuen, vice president of Moody’s Investors Service, told AFP.
Tsuen added that a disruption at a rival NAND flash chip plant — owned by American firm Western Digital and Japan’s Kioxia — has also benefited Samsung “due to reduced market supply”.
© Agence France-Presse