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Samsung’s profits rose in 2020 despite the pandemic

Samsung’s profits rose in 2020 despite the pandemic


The display division just had its best-ever quarter

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The Samsung Galaxy S21 is often available for less than full retail price
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Samsung Electronics has reported its fourth-quarter earnings, confirming that the company made more money in 2020 than the year before despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Operating profit was up to 35.99 trillion won ($32.1 billion) off 236.81 trillion won ($211.5 billion) in revenue for the year, increases of 29.6 percent and 2.78 percent respectively.

Samsung says its fourth-quarter results were helped by its “company-wide efforts to ensure a stable supply of products and services globally” in the pandemic environment. Quarterly profit was up 26.4 percent year-on-year, largely driven by the display and memory businesses, though the latter was down quarter to quarter.

Samsung’s display business had its highest ever quarterly earnings, which the company mainly attributes to high demand from major smartphone manufacturers. (Samsung doesn’t spell it out, but this was the quarter that Apple outfitted its entire new iPhone 12 lineup with OLED panels.) Samsung also reduced its losses from larger displays like TVs and monitors, and calls out a greater demand for contactless services as a contributing factor.

Samsung expects mobile profit to increase this quarter thanks to the launch of the Galaxy S21 series, and says it plans to expand its lineup of foldable devices. The display division, meanwhile, expects OLED penetration to continue to increase throughout the smartphone market and beyond, with wider applications in laptops, tablets, and cars. The company will also pursue growth with foldable and slidable displays.