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Samsung overtakes Nokia as world's largest cellphone brand

The South Korean electronics giant shipped 92 million cellphones worldwide in the first quarter, compared with 83 million for Nokia.

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A man plays a game on the Samsung galaxy tab 10.1 during a promotional sale at a shop in Phnom Penh last October. (TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)

Samsung has become the world’s largest cellphone brand for the first time, overtaking longtime market leader Nokia, and posted a record $5.2 billion in the first quarter.

The South Korean electronics giant shipped 92 million cellphones worldwide in the first quarter, compared with 83 million for Nokia. And while Samsung’s shipments declined by 13 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011, Nokia’s dropped by 27 percent, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Samsung shares hit a lifetime high after the results, pushing its market value to $190 billion -- 11 times that of Japanese rival Sony, though still only a third of Apple's, the world's most valuable company, according to Reuters.

The news comes at the end of a tough month for Nokia, whose credit rating was cut to junk status by Standard & Poor’s on Friday and rival agency Fitch’s downgrade earlier this week, after the company posted a first-quarter loss, the Financial Times reported.

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Samsung remained in second place behind Apple in the smartphone market and its smartphone shipments declined 11 percent from the fourth quarter, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.

However, Samsung’s performance is even more impressive because its latest Galaxy S III handset has yet to be launched, with shipments set to start in May, the LA Times reported.

“This indicates Samsung is likely to make further progress in market share in 2012,” Wayne Lam, senior analyst of wireless communications at IHS, told the LA Times.

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This marks the first time since 1998 that Nokia has not been the No. 1 brand in the global cellphone market, according to IHS iSuppli.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/120427/samsung-overtakes-nokia-worlds-largest-cellphone-brand