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Samsung announces Q4 2018 earning guidance, operating profit down 29%
08 January 2019, 02:25 | Hattie Nash
Samsung Feels Apple's Pain as Technology Slowdown Hits SalesMore
It forecasts revenue will decline 11% to 59 trillion won.
It cited "lackluster demand in the memory business and intensifying competition in the smartphone business" for the dismal outlook.
The firm had seen earnings surge in recent years largely due to strong appetite for memory chips in mobile devices.
Samsung had a smashing 2018 performance with multiple record-breaking quarters, mostly thanks to a boom in memory chips demand.
Samsung said it expects earnings to remain subdued in the first three months of the year due to hard conditions for memory.
DRAMeXchange expects memory chip prices to fall 10 percent on an average in the first quarter of 2019.
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Data center demand - mostly from the United States - now accounts for as much as almost 30 percent of demand for Samsung's DRAM chips compared with 5 percent five years ago, said analyst Kim Yang-jae at KTB Investment & Securities.
Deteriorating relations between the US and China - Samsung's two biggest export destinations - has hit demand for memory used in everything from personal computers to mobile devices, raising the pressure on a company struggling to revitalize its smartphone business. "It is not. The smartphone market is already saturated", senior analyst Greg Roh at Hyundai Motor Securities told Reuters news agency.
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Samsung routinely releases estimated earnings figures before posting detailed results and elaboration toward the end of the month. This is down 9.87 percent from 65.46 trillion won ($58 billion) in the previous quarter.
Samsung also said a "stagnant and fiercely competitive smartphone market" pressured income and that the firm would continue to innovate its product line such as with foldable handsets and models capable of fifth-generation (5G) networking.
"Samsung is losing ground to Huawei, Xiaomi and other Chinese rivals in the huge China and India markets", Neil Mawston, executive director at market researcher Strategy Analytics, said in a report.
This headwind continued to buffet the industry in the fourth quarter, with overall sales in the world's top smartphone market China falling 8 percent in the preceding three months, according to Counterpoint Research.
It is also set to introduce the world's first bendable smartphone in the first half.
It also took another hit after the bribery conviction of Lee Jae-yong - the son and heir of the group's ailing current Chairman Lee Kun-hee.
South Korea's semiconductor exports to China dropped for the first time in more than two years in December.
But Lee was released from jail in February past year after several of his convictions were quashed on appeal.
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