Samsung Electronics’ co-chief predicted a spike in interest rates and inflation would weigh on demand for consumer products in 2023, but noted the decline would likely begin to ease in the second half of the year, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

Vice chairman and co-CEO Han Jong-hee told the newspaper the company sees the economic downturn as an opportunity to better integrate its range of connected devices with user-friendly software.

Han took the helm of the newly created DX division, which combined its IT and Mobile Communications (renamed MX) and Consumer Electronics groups, in December 2021.

He said the merger aligned the two groups with the goal of developing connected products that seamlessly work with each other, WSJ wrote.

At CES in Las Vegas this week, the vendor unveiled a smart-home hub that lets users remotely control devices around the house such as lights, locks and air conditioners. Customers can use their Galaxy handset or tablet to connect to the SmartThings Station, which will first launch in South Korea and the US in February. The hub also can be used as a wireless charger.

The company’s Q4 profit is expected to drop 58 per cent year-on-year to KRW5.9 trillion ($4.6 billion), hitting a six-year low, as prices of memory chips drop, Reuters reported, citing Reinitiv SmartEstimate data from 21 analysts.

In its Q3 earnings call in October, the company warned continuing macroeconomic instability could put downward pressure on ASPs. The company’s Q3 net profit dropped 23.6 per cent to KRW9.4 trillion, while revenue growth slowed to 3.8 per cent.