Samsung Electronics said on Tuesday its operating profit went up more than ten-fold in the first quarter, with its chip business shifting to the black for the first time in five quarters.

Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest maker of smartphones and memory chips, said its operating profit reached 6.6 trillion won (US$4.8 billion) for the January-March period, compared with 640.2 billion won a year ago.

Its sales jumped 12.8 percent to 71.9 trillion won, and net profit soared 329 percent to 6.75 trillion won, the company said in a regulatory filing.

The earnings beat market expectations. The average estimate of operating profit by analysts stood at 5.6 trillion won, according to a survey by Yonhap Infomax, the financial data firm of Yonhap News Agency.

Samsung said it has invested 7.82 trillion won in research and development for the quarter ending March, marking the largest quarterly investment.

The chip business earned 23.1 trillion won in sales for the three months through March, with an operating profit of 1.91 trillion won.

It is the first time that the company’s semiconductor segment has posted a profit since the fourth quarter of 2022. It logged an operating loss of over 15 trillion won last year amid a downturn in the global chip market.

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Strong demand for memory chips lent support to the better-than-expected performance of the company’s chip business on rising DRAM and NAND flash prices, with steady sales of double data rate 5 (DDR5) products and massive solid state drives (SSDs).

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The chipmaker said its foundry business is expected to post double-digit on-quarter growth in the second quarter after bottoming out in the first quarter as customer inventory adjustments have been finalized and line utilization improved.

Samsung Electronics plans to complete the development of a 2nm design infrastructure and prepare infrastructure for various applications in mature processes, such as 14nm and 8nm, to secure customers.

The mobile and other devices business posted 47.3 trillion won in sales and 4.1 trillion won in operating profit in the first quarter.

In particular, sales of 33.5 trillion won and an operating profit of 2.5 trillion won came from the smartphone sector.

Its latest Galaxy S24 series model, the company’s first AI-powered smartphone, led the stellar first-quarter earnings despite a slowdown in the global smartphone market.

The company said shipments of smartphones and tablets amounted to 60 million and 7 million units in the first quarter, respectively, with the average selling price of smartphones reaching $336.

Earnings from its TV business fell from the previous quarter, but demand for large QLED and OLED TVs remained strong.