[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Electronics saw the first decline in the number of employees globally last year in seven years largely due to a steep decrease of workers in China, according to the company’s financial statements on June 2.
The total number of employees working in some 80 countries was 308,745 as of end of 2016, a 5.2 percent decline from a year ago. In Korea alone, the number decreased 2.8 percent to 93,204 people.
The largest decline came from China where the Korean tech giant has suffered from sluggish smartphone sales for years. The number of employees plunged 17.5 percent to 37,030 last year in the market.
Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, ranked eighth with a tiny 3.1 percent market share in the all-important Chinese market.
Other markets such as Asia, Europe and Middle East also saw declines in the number of employees. But South and North American markets continued to see surges due to Samsung’s upbeat sales there.
The combined employee number in North and South America increased 8.5 percent to 25,988 last year. The North American market alone made up 34 percent of Samsung’s sales last year at about 201.9 trillion won (US$177 billion).
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)