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Samsung profit soars to $6.6 billion record

By Ramy Inocencio, for CNN
January 25, 2013 -- Updated 1117 GMT (1917 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Samsung 2012 Q4 profit soars 76% from year before
  • Share price slides as company predicts slower 2013 smartphone demand
  • South Korean tech giant cites price competition, new products as 2013 challenges
  • Samsung was largest vendor of smartphones in 2012, shipping 213 million units worldwide

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Samsung Electronics posted a profit of $6.6 billion in the last three months of 2012 marking a 76% increase from the previous year.

While this represents a new record quarter for the world's largest maker of smartphones, Samsung's share price had slumped more than 2% by mid-day trading in Seoul after the company predicted consumers will buy fewer smartphones in 2013.

"The furious growth spurt seen in the global smartphone market last year is expected to be pacified by intensifying price competition compounded by a slew of new products," said Samsung in a press release.

"In the first quarter, demand for smartphones in developed countries is expected to decelerate, while their emerging counterparts will see their markets escalate with the introduction of more affordable smartphones."

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Samsung's quarterly earnings release comes one day after Apple, its biggest rival in the smartphone and tablet markets, also announced record quarterly earnings of $13.1 billion in its last quarter.

However, Apple's share price plunged more than 12% after the company missed its revenue estimate by about $200 million. Analysts had expected quarterly revenue of $54.7 billion; Apple announced actual revenue of $54.5 billion. iPhone and iPad sales, which continued to be strong, failed to impress investors who have become used to the tech giant far exceeding its own sales and profit forecasts.

Samsung, which surpassed Apple as the world's largest vendor of smartphones in early 2012, maintained its number one position for the year by shipping 213 million smartphones worldwide, according to Strategy Analytics.

"Despite tough competition in stores and courtrooms, Samsung continued to deliver numerous hit models, from the high-end Galaxy Note2 phablet to the mass-market Galaxy Y," wrote Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, in a press release.

The company added Samsung's 2012 shipment volume was the largest number of units ever shipped by a smartphone vendor in a single year.

Apple followed in second as its global smartphone shipments grew 46% in 2012 sending more than 135 million smartphones around the world. The Finland-based Nokia kept its third place position.

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