South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics Co forecast a difficult business environment in 2016 reportedly, citing heightened competition and weak economic conditions worldwide. Following the announcement Monday, the company’s shares fell 4.4 percent in Seoul.
Speaking to employees as part of his New Year speech, co-CEO Kwon Oh-hyun, said the company’s popular products such as smartphones, televisions and memory chips will face more competition this year. He also reiterated the need for the company to enhance its software products to drive smartphone sales.
“The territories of industries are collapsing,” Kwon said. “We have to compete in a new way that we’ve never experienced in the past.”
While the CEO did not release any specific financial forecasts, Kwon warned that the world’s largest smartphone maker would see greater uncertainty from issues such as financial risks in emerging economies in 2016. Samsung is also the world's largest maker of flat-screen TVs, memory chips and computer screens.
"Negative impact from weak demand and falling sales prices for semiconductor and liquid crystal display industries was likely bigger than initially anticipated," brokerage Korea Investment said in a report issued separately Monday, according to Reuters.
Korea Investment lowered its estimate for Samsung's fourth-quarter operating profit to 6.4 trillion won ($5.41 billion) from 6.8 trillion won ($5.72 billion) previously. The electronics maker had recorded a net profit of 7.4 trillion won ($6.23 billion) in the third quarter.
In 2015, Samsung lost more than $8 billion in market value as sales of its Galaxy line of high-end phones lost ground to Apple’s new releases and Chinese smartphones. The company’s shares fell 5.1 percent during the year -- a third straight year of decline.
The firm is expected to issue official earnings data for the fourth quarter ended December on Friday.