Massive Data Growth Sends Samsung Soaring

Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday its second-quarter operating profit soared to the highest in its history as massive data growth fueled a boom in the semiconductor sales and helped defy sluggish growth in the smartphone market and a slow recovery in the global economy.

In its earnings preview, the South Korean tech giant put its April-June operating profit at 14 trillion won ($12.1 billion), up 72 percent from 8.1 trillion won ($7 billion) a year earlier. Sales rose 18 percent to 60 trillion won ($51.9 billion).

The stunning result beats already-high expectations and puts Samsung on track to report the highest profit in its history for the full year. Analysts expected 13 trillion won ($11.2 billion) according to financial data provider FactSet.

Other milestones may be waiting. Samsung's quarterly profit could have surpassed Apple's for the first time, and Samsung's semiconductor revenue, which had been second to Intel's, likely surpassed the U.S. company in the second quarter, analysts said.

In the past, Samsung's financial performance mirrored the global economy or the cycles in the consumer electronics industry, such as how often users upgrade their televisions or smartphones.

That is no longer the case. Even as demand for smartphones that had fueled Samsung's profit has slowed, Samsung is on a roll because its memory chips are crucial for global tech companies in the era of explosive growth of data.

"To process and analyze big data, data storage comes first and this is the driving force behind Samsung's record-high profit," Hwang Min-sung, an analyst at Samsung Securities, said in a report. "Consumers' data usage exploded and companies are not saving their money to invest in servers for data storage and data analysis."

Global tech companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook are scurrying to add more servers for their databases to store, analyze and process the massive data generated from...

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