Shown above is a semiconductor factory of Samsung Electronics in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul. Samsung Electronics managed to increase its 2020 sales by 2.54 percent from 2019 despite the virus pandemic. Its operating profit rocketed almost 30 percent during the period. Photo courtesy of Samsung Electronics

Korea’s tech giant’s operating profit jumps 30% despite COVID-19

Throughout last year, so many corporations across the world struggled to find their feet because of the economic downturn spawned by the virus outbreak.

That is not the case for all companies, as amply demonstrated by Korea’s Samsung Electronics, whose operating profit jumped almost 30 percent on a year-on-year basis.

The tech giant announced on Jan. 8 that its sales amounted to 236.26 trillion won ($215 billion) in 2020, up 2.54 percent from a year ago. Its operating income jumped 29.46 percent to 36 trillion won.

Samsung Electronics outperformed the 2020 sales and profits only twice in its 51-year history. In 2017 and 2018, the firm fared very well thanks to the bullish semiconductor market.

Samsung is the world’s largest manufacturer of such products as memory chips, smartphones, and flat-panel displays. The memory chip segment is its major cash cow.

During the final quarter of 2020, however, Samsung’s bottom line was worse than a quarter ago because of the smartphone business.

Watchers point out that Samsung’s mobile phone business languished over the October-December period because of the weak demand for its recently announced flagship model of the Galaxy Note 20.

But the Seoul-based company’s outlooks for this year are good, according to experts. Some project that its 2021 operating profit would near 45 trillion won.

“The recovery of the memory chip business has just started. As its price is going up, the industry would benefit through 2022,” DB Financial Investment analyst Eo Kyu-jin said.

IBK Investment & Securities analyst Kim Woon-ho came up with a similar opinion.

“Samsung will enjoy the faster-than-expected recovery of the memory chip market. Its other business sectors like mobile phones and displays are also likely to get better,” he said.