But operating profit during the October to December period was expected to be around 10.8 trillion won ($9.8bn), down 28.7 percent from a year earlier, Samsung said in an earnings estimate on Tuesday.
Added to that, the smartphone market is now stagnating and competition is fierce. In the first commentary the company had attached to any of its regulatory filings since late 2014, Samsung said profits would remain weak in the first quarter of this year, but could be expected to rebound in the second half on the anticipated recovery of the memory chip market.
In its earnings guidance for Q4 18 Samsung Electronics advised that it expects sales of around 59 trillion Korean won and 10.8 trillion Korean won. She denies wrongdoing and China has demanded her release.
Last week, Apple warned that its sales have been slowing, blaming economic weakness in China.
Samsung, the biggest manufacturer of smartphones and semiconductors in the world, stated that its forecast profit decline was due to increasing macro uncertainties. The operating profits fell far short of the market expectations of 13.6 trillion won, stoking fears among investors already rattled as a result of the global tech slowdown.
Samsung's sales for the fourth quarter, ended December 31, fell to 59tn won, compared with the 63.6tn won average projection compiled by Bloomberg. The company won't release net income until it releases final results later this month. Samsung announced that it will do the same due to declining memory demand and dwindling smartphone sales. "While the US-China trade dispute hangs over them, these customers just won't accept current prices, and Samsung faces pressure to cut chip prices".
Prices of NAND flash memory chips, which hold data permanently, slipped 15 per cent. Profitability will recover in the second half, the company predicted, on projected improvements in the market, with rising adoption of new CPUs and launches of new smartphone products. The world's largest smartphone maker by shipment has been increasingly dependent on chips for profit growth, riding on a spike in global data traffic while yielding to stiffer competition for phones.