Samsung Reports Outstanding Numbers for the First Quarter: Records 933% Annual Increase in Operating Profit

  • Thanks to the growing demand for AI and the resurgence in chip demand, Samsung had a wonderful first quarter.
  • Operating profit increased by 933% and revenue was up by 12.81% compared to the same quarter last year.
  • While political instability, growing competition, and other factors are expected to make the coming quarters difficult, Samsung remains positive about reaching its goals.

Samsung Reports 933% Annual Increase In Operating Profit 

Samsung Electronics profits have reached an all-time high. The company reported a 933% annual increase in the first-quarter operating profits.

Samsung’s revenue for the quarter ending in March also went up by 12.81% compared to a year before – thanks to the growing demands for chips and AI-powered products.

‘The company posted KRW 71.92 trillion in consolidated revenue on the back of strong sales of flagship Galaxy S24 smartphones and higher prices for memory semiconductors. Operating profit increased to KRW 6.61 trillion as the Memory Business returned to profit’ – Samsung

As a result of such outstanding numbers, Samsung’s share prices also went up by 1.8% on Tuesday.

The Fall & Rise of Samsung Chips

The years 2022 and 2023 were challenging for Samsung’s semiconductor division. The pandemic led to an overstock in inventories.

After the Pandemic

Post the pandemic, the demand for electronics fell which means the demand for chips also fell. So, the manufacturers were forced to slash the prices of their chips. As a result, the company reported operating loss for 6 quarters straight.

To normalize the prices, Samsung had to cut back on its chip production. This move paid off because in the first quarter of 2023, it faced a loss of 4.58 trillion Won whereas in the first quarter of 2024, it logged an operating profit of 1.91 trillion Korean Won.

The AI Boom

Another major factor behind the increasing demand for Samsung chips is the AI boom. With ultra-wide communication lanes and low power consumption, Samsung HBM chips have gained popularity over its AI processing abilities.

As per reports, these chips will soon be compatible with Nvidia’s graphics processing units, another factor that might drive up its demand.

Galaxy S24 Boost

It’s impossible not to mention the Galaxy S24 series if we’re talking about Samsung’s outstanding numbers for this quarter. Packed with brand-new AI features such as Photo Assist, Live Translate, and Circle To Search, it’s a major hit among the customers.

In the first quarter, the Galaxy S24 series also managed to regain the number one spot in smartphone shipments that it had previously lost to Apple in 2023.

However, it’s important to note that the surge in smartphone demands is unstable at the moment. According to the company, demands might dip in the second quarter due to seasonality.

However, the good news is it will only be a temporary dip. From the second half of the year, sales are expected to pick up again. Samsung will be expanding Galaxy AI to both existing and new products to further drive up demand.

Other Factors

The earthquake in Taiwan also resulted in a price hike for Samsung’s memory chips.

Despite existing hurdles such as geopolitical tensions and macroeconomic uncertainty, the company believes that chips will remain in demand, at least for the coming few quarters.

In fact, to keep up with the growing demands, Samsung has also started mass producing HBM3E 8H and V9 NAND from this month. HBM3E 12H products and another 128GB product based on 1b nanometer (32GB DDR5) are also likely to be mass-produced in the second quarter.

Growing Competition & Other Hurdles

Although Samsung has a lot to celebrate this quarter, times ahead are tough. It recently received a $6.4 billion funding from the Biden administration to set up chip manufacturing units in Texas.

However, Samsung isn’t the only one:

  • Micron and TSMC are also expected to receive similar grants. This will add to the competition between these three chip manufacturing giants.
  • On top of that, Samsung will also be facing stiff competition from Japan’s Rapidus Corporation which recently received a grant of $3.89 billion in additional subsidies from the Japanese government to mass produce 2-nanometer chips from 2027.
  • SK Hynix, the number #2 chip manufacturer in the world is also close to overtaking Samsung’s top spot.
  • On March 19 SK Hynix announced it became the first to mass-produce HBM3E in the industry. It’s also the primary HBM3 chip supplier to Nvidia.

Samsung is well aware of these hurdles, which is why the company switched to “emergency mode” this month and mandated a 6-day workweek policy.

External factors like rising oil prices, depreciation of the Korean Won, and political instability arising from upcoming US elections stand in its way. Whether these numbers become a fluke or remain consistent will all depend on how Samsung handles the coming months.

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