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Samsung Profit Gets Lift From Pandemic

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SEOUL— Samsung Electronics Co. reported a 26% boost in its fourth-quarter net profit Thursday, as the world’s largest maker of smartphones and memory chips continues to ride sustained demand for its products amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But the South Korean tech giant faces extra challenges as it enters a new year. Beyond the pandemic, the company is contending with its de facto leader Lee Jae-yong being back behind bars. And its rivals, for handsets and semiconductors, are consolidating and getting larger.

Samsung posted 6.61 trillion South Korean won, or nearly $6 billion, in net profit for the quarter ended Dec. 31, over last year’s 5.23 trillion won. Revenue rose to 61.55 trillion won from the prior year’s 59.88 trillion won.

Analysts had forecast about 6.74 trillion won in net profit and 61.21 trillion won in revenue, according to estimates from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Like other technology companies, Samsung has fared well in the pandemic on the strength of demand for most consumer electronics and displays, though economic pressures squeezed smartphone sales in the first half of last year. The company is closely watched in the technology world, as a major manufacturer of appliances and computing devices as well as a critical supplier to other electronics firms.

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