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Smartphones are now Samsung Electronics’ biggest money-maker – and the reason the South Korean powerhouse will likely post record quarterly earnings.
The top handset maker is forecasting a 73% jump in operating profits for the October to December period, after record-smashing smartphone sales.
Smartphone shipments are forecast to hit a record 35 million in the fourth quarter – up 25% from the previous quarter.
Samsung expects operating profits of $4.5 billion ($5.2 trillion won). Fourth-quarter revenue is estimated at $41 billion ($47 trillion won).
The company will provide detailed earnings later this month and analysts say Samsung will solidify its lead over Apple in smartphones this year, selling as many as 170 million, up from an estimated 95 million last year.
Samsung is also weathering a squeeze at its bread-and-butter memory chip unit, with demand for its mobile processing chips and high-end displays becoming a key new source of revenue.
Global technology firms, including rivals, already use or are turning to Samsung for components to power their tablets and smartphones.
Samsung is the largest and sole profitable DRAM memory chipmaker and is likely to fare better than rivals, as it continues to invest in finer processing technology to cut costs.
Still, analysts say weak computer memory chip prices will continue to squeeze earnings at least until the first half of this year.