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Samsung rediscovering its mobile mojo


Early indications of stronger-than-expected sales of new Galaxy S7 smartphones suggest technology giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is emerging from a two-year decline at its flagship mobile business.

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Squeezed by Apple Inc in premium products and undercut by Chinese rivals like Huawei in cheaper devices, Samsung’s smartphone profits and global market share have fallen and sapped momentum at South Korea’s most valuable company.

But several brokerages on Wednesday upgraded first-quarter forecasts for what is still the world’s top smartphone maker, citing a strong start for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge premium phones that were launched earlier this month.

Samsung likely shipped 9.5 million S7 phones in the first quarter, significantly more than the initial estimate for seven million, Jay Yoo, industry analyst at Korea Investment & Securities, wrote in a report.

“It looks like the sell-in numbers have been pretty good and analysts are raising their sales forecasts for the S7 this year,” noted HDC Asset Management fund manager Park Jung-hoon.

“The firm is pushing up volume in the mid-to-low tier to protect market share. Starting S7 sales about a month earlier than the S6 to take advantage of Apple not having new products out yet was also a good move.”

Samsung shares gained as much as 2.4 per cent on Wednesday to an 18-week high.

The stock is up by more than a fifth since mid-January following a 22 per cent slide over the previous three months.

The two Galaxy S7 models have won acclaim for their sleek design and the return from previous models of features such as microSD card storage support and water resistance, though analysts noted the phones offer only incremental upgrades and don’t look very different to their predecessors.


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