Samsung Electronics to freeze salaries in Korea for first time since 2009
SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) said on Thursday it will freeze its South Korean employees' wages in 2015 for the first time in six years, after the world's top smartphone maker suffered a fall in profits in the face of rising competition. The South Korean giant in January recorded its first annual profit decline since 2011, as it lost market share to Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) new iPhones and cheaper Chinese rivals like Xiaomi Inc [XTC.UL]. The last time Samsung Electronics froze salaries was 2009 when the company reeled from the global financial crisis. Since then, it has increased salaries. A Samsung spokesman did not elaborate on the reasons for the wage freeze. Samsung Electronics shares slipped 0.3 percent while the wider market .KS11 was up 0.1 percent as of 0613 GMT (1.13 a.m. EST). Robert Yi, Samsung's head of investor relations, signaled earlier this month that the firm may cut dividends in 2015 after it hiked its payout by 40 percent and bought back stocks last year.