In the first quarter of 2021, South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics predicted a 44.19% rise in operating profit on Wednesday.

The company said in an earnings estimate that it expected operating profits of 9.3 trillion won ($8.3 billion) for the period of January to March, up from 6.45 trillion won a year earlier, AFP reported. The numbers are hugely driven by robust sales of smartphones and the launch of its flagship Galaxy S21 series.

Samsung Electronics is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung group, by far the largest of the family-controlled empires known as chaebols that dominate business in South Korea, the world's 12th largest economy.

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Although the COVID-19 pandemic -- which has killed more than 2.8 million people worldwide -- has hit all sectors, it has also led to many tech companies experiencing a boom.

Coronavirus-driven working from home has been boosting demand for devices powered by Samsung's chips, as well as home appliances such as TV and washing machines.

Analysts say the company has had a particular boost from rolling out its Galaxy S21 series in January, more than a month ahead of the flagship product's usual annual launch schedule.

However, the power outages across Texas in the US -- caused by a severe winter storm -- shut down semiconductor factories clustered around Austin in February, including Samsung's.

Samsung said operations at its factory returned to almost normal in late March, but South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported the company may suffer around 400 billion won ($357 million) in losses due to the shutdown.

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Still, Hi Investment and Securities in Seoul said Samsung's Q1 performance will greatly benefit from its mobile business, backed by solid shipments and cost control.

However, the tech giant has still benefited massively from its is expected to have produced around 62 million smartphones in the first quarter, with a market share of 18.1%, according to TrendForce.

With the estimates, Samsung is expected to reclaim its global smartphone market lead, the tracker said, after losing the spot to Apple during the last quarter of 2020.