Samsung Electronics Co., the world\'s largest maker of memory chips, posted the largest revenue among global tech firms last year on the back of strong sales of smartphones, a financial information provider said Tuesday. Samsung Electronics\' 2011 sales reached US$148.6 billion when its yearly revenue was converted into the dollar, according to data compiled by FnGuide Inc. The company estimated on Friday that it posted a record operating profit of 5.2 trillion won ($4.5 billion) in the fourth quarter, aided by strong shipments of smartphones. Its fourth-quarter and annual sales were also predicted to have reached an all-time high, it added. The latest figure marked the second straight year that South Korea\'s tech bellwether ranked first in the global market in terms of sales volume, followed by Hewlett-Packard Co. FnGuide said that the sales gap between the two companies widened to $21.2 billion last year from $6.9 billion in the previous year, indicating Samsung Electronics\' stellar performance. In the cited period, sales of Apple Inc. reached $108.2 billion and analysts projected that those of IBM Corp. are estimated to amount to $107.2 billion. Analysts said Samsung Electronics should be able to keep its status of the world\'s largest sales generator this year as it is expected to log handsome earnings on solid demand for smartphones and benefit from its diverse product lineup. A possible rebound in key memory chip prices is also likely to bolster its earnings, they added. Market consensus showed that Samsung Electronics\' sales may reach 183.8 trillion won in 2012, up 11.57 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, in terms of operating profit, Samsung Electronics ranked fifth in the global markets with $14.6 billion in 2011. Apple posted the biggest operating profit of $33.8 billion in 2011, followed by Microsoft Corp. with $27.2 billion and IBM with $21.3 billion, according to FnGuide. The company quoted Choi Gee-sung, the chief executive officer and vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, as saying that the company\'s sales of handsets last year exceeded those of Nokia Corp. for the first time ever, making Samsung the world\'s largest manufacturer of mobile phones. But he declined to reveal specific numbers. The No.1 global smartphone manufacturer said that it may achieve annual sales of $200 billion before 2015 if the company can post revenues of 180 trillion won this year.