Many Samsung employees are expected to lose their jobs in the next week or two as the company is set to announce its annual personnel changes early next month. The company recently reported a 74% drop in mobile profits and is planning to produce 30% fewer smartphone models next year in the face of increasing competition from Chinese brands Xiaomi, Lenovo, and Huawei. Dramatically slowing sales of its flagship handset led the company to shore up its share price with a $2 billion stock buyback.
Insiders say staff at Samsung Electronics have never been so anxious ahead of the annual reshuffle, as a weak smartphone performance and its worst earnings in three years are expected to cost many jobs. As is customary for Korean businesses, Samsung is expected to announce its annual personnel changes in early December, a ritual that even in good times means weeks of distracting uncertainty for staff facing promotion, transfer or the sack. The last of those options looks more likely after third-quarter operating profit fell by nearly two thirds. Squeezed by Chinese rivals like Xiaomi Technology [XTC.UL] at the low end and Apple’s iPhones at the top, Samsung’s share of the smartphone market has also shrunk year-on-year for the last three quarters, leading to speculation that mobile business head J.K. Shin could be on the way out.