SEOUL: Samsung Electronics turned cautious on spending for the first time since the global financial crisis, keeping its annual investment plan unchanged at 2012 levels, as demand for computer chips wanes and the smartphone market slows.
Samsung, one of the industry's most aggressive spenders, has ramped up capital expenditure every year since 2004 except 2009 to meet soaring demand for its array of consumer electronics and mobile devices. It sold a record 700,000 smartphones a day in the last quarter.
Samsung said it would keep 2013 capital expenditure unchanged from 2012.
The company said it spent 4.4 trillion won ($4.1 billion) in October-December, pushing its 2012 investment to a record 23trn won ($21.5bn).
Samsung had poured money into factories to boost production of chips and panels used in Apple products and its Galaxy range devices, pushing its operating profit to 8.84trn won in the last quarter.
The 89 per cent increase from a year earlier was in line with its earlier
Profit at its mobile devices division, which makes phones, tablets and cameras, more than doubled to 5.44trn won in the quarter from a year earlier, lifted by a broader offering of smartphones - from the very cheap to the very expensive.
The division accounted for 62pc of Samsung's overall fourth-quarter profit, up from 55pc a year earlier.
Samsung is also seeing strong sales of its Note phablet, which analysts expect to help the company get through any seasonal weakness better than rivals.