Samsung down in China, Apple gains: Battle of Big Phones.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is closer to losing its crown as global smartphone leader after posting a plunge in quarterly mobile earnings on Thursday, a day after rival Apple Inc reported the biggest profit in corporate history.

It was in China, the world’s largest market for smartphones, where Samsung’s dramatic decline was most evident.

Mobile’s share of Samsung’s operating profit fell from almost 70 percent in 2013 to about 58 percent last year.

In contrast to Apple’s record-breaking 74.5 million iPhone sales in the three months to Dec 27 on the back of the success of its big-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

While Samsung did not release smartphone sales figures, it said smartphone and tablet shipments declined in the fourth quarter, leading some analysts to declare Apple had caught up.

Samsung is struggling in countries such as China because “they’re sort of being eaten from the bottom up by regional players” including Huawei and Xiaomi, said Ben Bajaran, an analyst at Silicon Valley research firm Creative Strategies.“And now with Apple being competitive in larger phones, you’re seeing them Samsung losing any edge they had at the high end,” he said.Thanks to its bigger iPhones, Apple sold a record 74.5 million iPhones last quarter, which also helped ma ..

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