Samsung rings up fresh profit rise as sales soar

SAMSUNG is on course for its fifth straight quarter of record profits as consumers around the world snapped up its smartphones at the rate of almost 500 a minute.

The South Korean electronics giant is tipped to post an operating profit of about 8.8 trillion won (£5.1 billion) for the three months to the end of December, a 90 per cent jump from the same period a year earlier.

However, some analysts believe that the run of five straight record quarters may end in January-March on weaker seasonal demand.

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Kim Sung-soo, a fund manager at LS Asset Management, said: “Investors are a bit concerned that Samsung’s momentum may slow in the first half.

“The smartphone market is unlikely to sustain its strong growth as advanced markets are nearing saturation despite growth in emerging countries.”

While Apple rolled out just a single new smartphone last year globally, Samsung bombarded the market with 37 variants tweaked for regional and consumer tastes, from high-end smartphones to cheaper low-end models.

By comparison, Taiwanese firm HTC released 18 models, LG Electronics 24 and Nokia nine.

Some other parts of Samsung’s business, such as making memory chips and televisions, have already been impacted by the slowdown in global growth.