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Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro likely to be launched in India today

18 April 2017

Samsung's January-March operating income rose 48 percent to 9.9 trillion won ($8.8 billion), from 6.7 trillion won a year earlier.

The figure is the tech giant's highest first-quarter earnings, considering the first three months of the year are considered as off-season for semiconductor and smartphone sales.

Even as the Samsung de facto leader and four other executives face corruption charges, the latest earnings preview showed the company's business is thriving.

Samsung Electronics has reported a 48% jump in profits during the first three months of 2017, despite challenges around the failure of its Galaxy Note 7 handset past year.

The company has been under a cloud after its vice chairman Lee Jae-yong was arrested in February on charges of bribery, in connection with an investigation into an alleged corruption scandal that led to the ouster of South Korea's former President Park Geun-hye.

The company's stock is trading near historic highs, despite Lee's troubles and the scrapping previous year of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone due to fire-prone batteries.

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Lee, who was arrested in February, has been charged with paying almost US$40 million to the now-impeached president's close friend Choi Soon-Sil, allegedly as bribes to secure policy favours.

"Right now, it's about as good as it gets for Samsung", said Park Jung-hoon, fund manager at Samsung shareholder HDC Asset Management told TechWire Asia.

Ms Park was arrested last week, after being impeached, and sent to a detention centre, although she has not yet been formally charged.

Lee's lawyer flatly denied the charges. It is scheduled to give more details including quarterly net profit later in the month. Also, the release of its flagship smartphone Galaxy S8 is expected post record-breaking sales.

Analysts also said Samsung was likely to continue benefitting from the strong global demand for memory chips, especially NAND flash chips used for long-term data storage, throughout this year. Refurbished Galaxy Note 7 units will most likely see their batteries swapped for safer units, and undergo rigorious quality assurance tests to make sure they do not pose any safety risks for consumers.