HISTORY OF SAMSUNG
Raymond Zhong wrote in the New York Times: South Korea’s best-known export, Samsung, bean as “an obscure maker of cheap microwaves that Western expatriates in the country had taken to calling “Sam-suck.” Today, Samsung is a household name, and a bigger smartphone maker than Apple. But its path to the top was strewn with secret deals, price fixing, bribery, tax evasion and more, all of it overseen by an ultrasecretive, ultrarich family ready to use every means at its disposal to stay in command. [Source: Raymond Zhong, New York Times, March 17, 2020]
“The journalist Geoffrey Cain tells this story in “Samsung Rising,” and in his account both the good and bad of Samsung were imprinted upon it in its earliest decades. The company was founded in 1938 as a shop selling vegetables and dried fish. South Korea after the war was a poor backwater. And as Samsung’s founder, Lee Byung-chul, expanded into sugar, finance, chemicals, electronics and beyond, he felt he was building not just a business, but the entire nation of South Korea along with it. Over-the-top, world-conquering ambition became a Samsung signature, as did unquestioning reverence for company brass and military-style discipline. Cain describes a leaked video in which seas of Samsung recruits parade in formation, holding up placards to form moving patterns. “It was amazing, scary and weird,” one employee told Cain.
“South Korea’s leaders were mostly happy to accommodate Samsung’s ambitions, and by the 1960s the company was already a symbol for how political connections could lead to great riches. Samsung’s coziness with the government grew as the company did, helping its chairman, Lee Kun-hee, twice be granted presidential pardons for white-collar crimes. Today, across the Republic of Samsung, as South Korean cynics call their country, it can feel impossible to escape the company’s influence, which stretches from gadgets to hospitals to art.
Samsung “keeps a tight lid” on “almost anything to do with the ruling Lee dynasty... This is a shame, because the Lees are a truly HBO-worthy bunch. The ailing patriarch, Kun-hee, is a mercurial loner who breeds dogs and spends his free time speeding around in sports cars on Samsung’s private racetrack. His son and heir, Jae-yong, is widely regarded, Cain writes, as “more entitled than he was competent.” The family’s unending feuds, tragedies and intrigues are the stuff of fascination among South Koreans.
“The Lees’ maneuverings have gotten Samsung into trouble in recent years. In 2017, South Korean courts ruled that the company had bribed the country’s president to win support for a corporate takeover that solidified the family’s control over the empire. Lee Jae-yong served barely a year in jail before his five-year sentence was commuted. Samsung did just fine financially during that time. As Cain puts it: “If the empire was posting record profits while its king-in-waiting sat in jail, then what was the point in having a king-in-waiting?” Cain helps answer his own question when he recounts a conversation he had at that time with a former Samsung boss. With the Lees in crisis, “Our empire is not an empire,” the man laments. “We are becoming like any corporation.”
Lee Byung-chul: the Founder of Samsung
Lee Byung Chul (1910-1987) — the founder of Samsung — at one time was the richest man in Korea. He once said that "government and industry are like husband and wife." In addition to founding Samsung he helped transform it from a trading company, with fingers in many pies, to a mass producer of cheap electronics into a powerful chaebol. Lee Byung-chul died in 1987, making way for his third son Lee Kun-hee, the man who is mainly credited with making Samsung the powerhouse company it is today.
Lee Byung Chul was the son of a wealthy yangban landowner Lee Chan-woo and his wife Kwon Jae-lim. The youngest son of four siblings, Byung-chul was born on February 12, 1910 in Uiryeong in Gyeongsangnam-do in Japan-occupied Korean. His family was a branch of the Gyeongju Lee clan. The yangban were class highly civil servants and military officers, trained in the Confucian classics, that were often also wealthy landowners.
Lee received a classical Chinese education when he was young and was sent by his family to attend primary school in Seoul when he was ten. He attended Joongdong High School in Seoul and went to Waseda University in Tokyo but dropped out before completing his degree and returned to Seoul and did nothing for a few years. At 26 he used inherited money to start a rice mill in his home town. The venture was not particularly successful and he moved to Taegu and started a trading, trucking and real estate business which he named Samsung. The business went bankrupt in a credit squeeze that resulted from the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. But Lee went back into business. By by the end of the war in 1945 Samsung was flourishing. He added domestic and international trading to the trucking and real estate business that he had started. [Source: Thayer Watkins Department of Economics, San José State University]
Lee was an avid collector of Korean art. His collection is considered one of the largest and best private collections of Korean art in the world, featuring a number of art objects that have been designated "National Treasures" by the Korean government. After his death, Byung-chul's estate (Ho-Am) was opened to the public for tours. Ho-Am is located a short distance from the Everland park, South Korea's most popular amusement park (Everland is also owned by the Samsung Group).
Family of Lee Byung Chul
Lee Byung-chul (1910-1987) had eight children with his first wife Park Du-eul (1907- 2000), including Lee Kun-hee (1942- 2020), 2nd chairman of Samsung and man who shaped Samsung into the great company it is today, his 3rd son and 7th child.. Lee Byung-chul had two children with second wife: Kuroda (1922-2007).
Lee Byung Chul (1910-1987) — 1st chairman of Samsung.
1st wife — Park Du-eul (1907- 2000)
Lee Byung Chul’s sons by his first wife:
Oldest son, 2nd oldest child — Lee Maeng-hee (1931- 2015) — Founder of CJ Group, which he lost in lawsuit, with Lee Kun-hee).
2nd oldest son, 3rd child — Lee Chang-hee (1933-1991) — Founder of Saehan.
3rd son, 7th child — Lee Kun-hee (1942- 2020) — 2nd chairman of Samsung.
Lee Byung Chul’s daughters:
Oldest child, oldest daughter — Lee In-hee (1929-2019) — The founder of Hansol and spouse of its former chairman, Dr. Cho Wan-hae, M.D. (1925-2019).
2nd oldest daughter, 4th child — Lee Suk-hee (1935-), spouse of LG board director Koo Cha-hak (1930 -), younger brother of the emeritus chairman, Koo Cha-kyung (1925-2019) and paternal uncle of the former deceased chairman, Koo Bon-moo (1945-2018).
3rd daughter, 5th child — Lee Soon-hee (1939-)
4th daughter, 6th child — Lee Deok-hee (1940-), widow of Lee Jeong-gi (1936-2006).
5th daughter, 8th child — Lee Myung-hee (1943-), spouse of Chung Jae-eun (1937-), chairwoman of Shinsegae group and mother of Chung Yong-jin.
2nd wife: Kuroda (1922-2007)
4th son, 9th child: Lee Tae-whi (1947-)
6th daughter, 10th child: Lee Hye-ja (1952-)
Early History of Samsung: It All Started $25 and Dried Fish?
According to Business Insider: “It all started in 1938 with Lee Byung-chul, $25, and dried fish. The patriarch and progenitor of the Samsung dynasty opened a tiny dry-goods store” in Taegu that also served as a trading center” and that marked the beginning of Samsung. [Source: Business Insider, 2014]
On March 1, 1938, Samsung founder Lee Byung-Chul started a business in Taegu, Korea, with 30,000 won (about US$25 at the time). At the start, his business focused primarily on trade export, selling dried Korean fish, vegetables, and fruit to Manchuria and Beijing. In little more than a decade, Samsung-which means "three stars" in Korean-would have its own flour mills and confectionery machines, its own manufacturing and sales operations, and ultimately evolve to become the modern global corporation that still bears the same name today. [Source: Samsung]
In 1951, Samsung Moolsan (now Samsung Corporation) was established. In 1954, Cheil Industries Inc. was founded. In 1958 Ankuk Fire & Marine Insurance acquired (renamed Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance in October 1993)
Thayer Watkins of San José State University wrote: Samsung Trading Company was one of the ten largest trading companies in Korea when the Korean War broke out. Lee escaped from Seoul after the North Korean invasion and set up operations in Pusan. The business grew by leaps and bounds due to the war. In 1953 Lee started the first sugar refining company in Korea, which he called Cheil ("first") Sugar. Cheil Sugar was highly profitable and in 1954 Lee setup Cheil Wool Textile Company. Samsung's companies benefited from the import-substitution policy that the government pursued. Domestic producers were encouraged and imports were discouraged. By the end of the 1950s Lee had acquired control of several commercial banks and insurance companies.
Samsung in the Park Chung Hee Era:
By the 1960s, by some measures, Lee Byung-Chul was the richest man in South Korea. Thayer Watkins of San José State University wrote: “In 1961 Park Chung Hee carried out a military coup d'etat and immediately staged an anticorruption campaign. Lee was in Japan at the time and initially refused to return to South Korea because he knew he, as the richest man in South Korea, would be a prime target of Park's campaign. [Source: Thayer Watkins Department of Economics, San José State University]
“Later Lee returned to Seoul and struck a deal with Park that became the model for South Korea's chaebol. Samsung would be allowed to remain in business but it would have to be the vehicle for carrying out the development projects that Park wanted. Park was somewhat of a puzzle when he siezed power. When American government officials found that Park in his younger days had not only joined a communist cell, but had been, in fact, the organizer of the cell, they thought that the Communists had taken control of South Korea. Park had a fondness for collectivist-type slogans such as "Enrich the Nation and Strengthen the Army!" and "Steel is National Power."
▪” Lee offered to donate most of his wealth to the government and accept expropriation of his bank shares. Also he agreed to gain the cooperation of other businessmen in promoting Park's development projects. The chaebol benefited greatly from this arrangement but the nature of the economic system of South Korea was closer to a centrally planned socialist state than the capitalism that it purported to be. The success of Samsung or any of the other chaebol in selling products cannot be taken to be proof of their success in profit making. It could just as well be a result of the South Korean government subsidizing in one way or another a money-losing venture.
Development of Samsung in the 1960s and 70s
Samsung was well managed and economically successful and steadily grew. By the late 1960s Lee chose electronics to be the focus of Samsung's manufacturing. In 1977 Samsung put Korean engineers to work dismantling color television sets from the United States, Europe and Japan to see how they could be copied. It took about three years for Samsung to to go into production of color television sets. In 1979 Samsung started making VCR's and in 1980 microwave ovens. [Source: Samsung]
In 1963, Samsung acquired Dongbang Life Insurance Co. (renamed Samsung Life Insurance in July 1989). In 1966, Joong-Ang Development was established (known today as Samsung Everland). Also, in 1966, a scandal — the smuggling saccharin into the country — forced Lee Byung-chul to step down. According to the Hankyoreh, a Korean news site, Lee Byung-chul's second son, Lee Chang-hee, smuggled 50 tons of saccharin into the country. As was the tradition in South Korea, the oldest son, Lee Maeng-hee, became CEO of Samsung in 1967, but he was not very well liked.
In the 1970s, Samsung laid the strategic foundations for its future growth by investing in the heavy, chemical, and petrochemical industries. During this time, the company also took steps to enhance its competitive position in the world's textile industry, integrating its manufacturing processes from raw materials to end products. As a result, many new companies were created, including Samsung Heavy Industries Company in 1974 and Samsung Shipbuilding and Samsung Precision Company (now Samsung Techwin) in 1977.
In 1974 , Samsung Heavy Industries was incorporated and Samsung Petrochemical was established. In 1977, Samsung Precision Co. (now Samsung Techwin), Samsung Fine Chemicals and Samsung Construction were established
Development of Samsung Electronics in the 1960s and 70s
In 1969 , Samsung-Sanyo Electronics was established (renamed Samsung Electro-Mechanics in March 1975 and merged with Samsung Electronics in March 1977). The production of a black-and-white television (model: P-3202) started at Samsung-Sanyo began soon afterwards.
A huge burst of growth for Samsung occurred in the burgeoning home electronics business. Samsung Electronics, already a major manufacturer in the Korean market, began to export its products for the first time during this period. [Source: Samsung]
In 1972, production of black-and-white televisions for domestic sale began. In 1974
washing machine and refrigerator production started. In 1976, the 1 millionth black-and-white TV was produced. In 1977 Samsung started to export color televisions In 1978, the 4 millionth black-and-white TV — most in the world — was produced. In 1979, the company began mass production of microwave ovens,
In the 1970s, Samsung acquired a 50 percent stake in Korea Semiconductor, further solidifying Samsung Electronics' position as a leader in semiconductor manufacturing. In 1978, Samsung Semiconductor and Samsung Electronics became separate entities.
Samsung in the 1980s
In 1987, Samsung's founding Chairman Byung-Chul Lee died after almost 50 years at the helm of the company. His son, Kun-Hee Lee, succeeded him as the new Chairman. During this period, Samsung challenged itself to restructure old businesses and enter new ones with the aim of becoming one of the world's top five electronics companies. Following Lee's death in 1987, Samsung was separated into five business groups — Samsung Group, Shinsegae Group, CJ Group and Hansol Group, and Joongang Group. [Source: Samsung]
Samsung's core technology businesses diversified and expanded globally during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Samsung Aerospace Industries (now Samsung Techwin) was launched in February 1987.
Samsung also entered the systems development business, establishing Samsung Data Systems in 1985 (now Samsung SDS) as a leader in information technology services, including systems integration, systems management, consulting, and networking services. Samsung's increasing focus on technology led to the creation of the company's two research and development (R&D) institutes that helped expand its reach even further into electronics, semiconductors, high polymer chemicals, genetic engineering, optical telecommunications, aerospace, and new fields of technology innovation from nanotechnology to advanced network architectures.
In 1982, a sales subsidiary (SEG) was established in Germany. In 1984, Samsung Data Systems was launched (Renamed Samsung SDS).In 1987, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology opened for R&D purposes. In 1989 , Samsung BP Chemicals was founded.
Samsung Electronics in the 1980s
In 1980, Samsung began producing air conditioners. In 1981, the first microwave ovens (model: RE-705D) was exported (to Canada) and 1 millionth color TV was produced. In 1982, the 10 millionth black-and-white was TV produced. [Source: Samsung]
In 1983, Samsung began production of personal computers (PCs). In 1984, the first Samsung VCRs were exported to the U.S. In 1986, Samsung developed the world's smallest, lightest 4mm video tape recorder.In 1989, the 20 millionth color TV was produced.
In 1982, Korea Telecommunications Corp. changed its name to Samsung Semiconductor & Telecommunications Co. In 1988, Samsung Semiconductor & Telecommunications Co merged with Samsung Electronics and home appliances, telecommunications, and semiconductors were selected as core business lines.
Samsung in the 1990s
In 1991, Samsung sent a senior executive to North Korea to discuss opening a branch office in Pyongyang and wanted to explore the feasibility of a US$20-million joint venture with Japanese and Hong Kong partners for a textile and garment plant in Chongjin. In 1992 Acquired Kukje Securities Co., today known as Samsung Securities Co., Ltd, the 10 millionth industrial robot produced and began manufacturing in China
In the mid-1990s, Samsung revolutionized its business through a dedication to making world-class products, providing total customer satisfaction, and being a good corporate citizen – all under the vision of "quality first." Samsung also became more involved in social welfare, environmental conservation, cultural events and sports. It began actively participating in sports marketing, and as a result of its intensive efforts, its then-chairman,Kun-Hee Lee, was selected as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in July 1996.
In 1994, Samsung Heavy Industries developed first Korean-built electric car (SEV-III) and Samsung Aerospace developed the world's first four-power zoom camera. In 1995, Samsung Entertainment Group was started and Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology developed world's first real-time MPEG-3 technology
Division of Samsung Among Family in the 1990s
The early 1990s presented tremendous challenges for high-tech businesses. Mergers, coalitions, and buy-outs were common while competition and consolidation flourished. Companies were pressed to rethink their technology and services offerings. Business began to flow across borders between countries and companies. Samsung made the most of these opportunities by refocusing its business strategy to better respond to market demands.
With Lee Kun-hee presiding, his siblings proceeded to split the empire among themselves. Lee Kun-hee's sisters, Lee In-hee, who was in charge of Samsung's home-furnishings unit, and Myung-hee, who had Samsung's retail arm, split from the company with their departments in 1991 and 1997, respectively. Lee In-hee established the Hansol group, now the country's largest paper manufacturer and electronics producer, while Lee Myung-hee created the Shinsegae Group, Forbes reported.
In 1997, CJ Cheil Jedang, selling food and biopharmaceuticals, separated from the Samsung Group. It was headed by Lee Jay-hyun — Lee Maeng-hee's son. According to Forbes, he was charged with theft and embezzlement, and sentenced to four years in prison in 2014. [Source: Business Insider, 2014]
Samsung Begins Restructuring in the 1990s
Allen Adamson wrote in Forbes: In the 1990s, “Samsung was known basically as a supplier, a high-volume, low-quality manufacturer without any real brand name recognition outside Korea. It’s now not only the world’s largest electronics company by revenue, but as a brand name, it’s among the few companies that can announce a product introduction and have thousands of people lined up around the block waiting to buy what it’s selling, as was the case with the Galaxy S4. What happened to bring about this change? [Source: Allen Adamson, Forbes, July 7, 2013]
Kevin Lane Keller, a professor of marketing at Dartmouth, and an international leader in the study of brands who has been a consultant to Samsung, told Forbes: “Go back to 1993. Samsung’s chairman, Lee Kun-hee, had been traveling around the world reviewing how his company was faring. To put it mildly, he wasn’t happy with what he saw. He ended his trip in Frankfurt and felt compelled to call a spontaneous meeting of his top executives at which he pronounced, both literally and figuratively, “Change everything but your wife and children.” In other words, he recognized the need to substantially change the way the company was doing business. The meeting, which lasted three days, was referred to as Frankfurt Declaration of 1993. It was in essence a new management initiative and it was the catalyst for Samsung’s transformation in the market.
At the Samsung Human Resources Development Center, Sam Grobart of Bloomberg wrote:, there is a recreation of the “drab conference room in the German hotel where, in 1993, Chairman Lee gathered his lieutenants and laid out a plan to transform Samsung, then a second-tier TV manufacturer, into the biggest, most powerful electronics manufacturer on earth. It would require going from a high-volume, low-quality manufacturer to a high-quality one, even if that meant sacrificing sales. It would mean looking past the borders of South Korea and taking on the world. [Source: Sam Grobart, Bloomberg, March 29, 2013]
Keller said: “Look, a company can have all the right tenets. It can say we’re going to be customer focused, innovation-driven, a true global brand, you know, all the playbook stuff. And it can dance all it wants about the branding and marketing. But there is absolutely nothing that takes the place of a strong value proposition to really, truly get people engaged. You need to give them something that they want to – and can - buy into. In Samsung’s case, it was a simple, resolute value proposition comprised of three specific planks that kick-started the evolution, the planks being quality, design, and price. The company has been focusing relentlessly on this proposition since then. Now, it’s important to note that from the beginning, the company had all kinds of advantages when it came to the quality piece. A good many of the ingredients that went into their products were actually things they already made. The imperative of management, then, was to ramp up the quality. They wanted to be seen as a premium brand and they’ve been pursuing this course. It’s been a steadfast goal. In terms of design, they established design centers around the world, hired the most talented designers, and put a lot of money behind the endeavor, put a tremendous amount of emphasis on it. Finally, they came in at an aggressive price point as they built the brand and gained share, especially in the retail environment, so they were able to present themselves in a favorable price comparison with Sony.
“They were able to combine quality, design and price in a really compelling way. But first they had to develop a business model that permitted this to happen. Every brand has to have points of difference that distinguishes it in some way. The way I look at Samsung, it very much had the intrinsics and the extrinsics, if you want to think of it this way, and combined them in a powerful manner. It comes right back to the value proposition. You have to have a better value proposition than the competition, and then you have to be able to deliver on it consistently...Samsung really put its money where its mouth is in terms of innovation. It pours a massive amount of money into research and development, massive amounts of money into design centers. It wants to be a global brand, so there are design centers around the world – India, Poland, Europe – that develop products that are well accepted in different cultures and environments.
Samsung Electronics in the 1990s
In 1991, Samsung started making LCD panels it sold to other television brands. In 1992, development of 250MB hard disc drive completed. In 1993, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) developed first-ever digital video disk recorder (DVD-R) and Samsung Electronics acquired U.S. firm HMS. In 1994 Samsung started making flash memory for devices such as the iPod and smartphones. The 30 millionth microwave oven was produced the same year.
In the mid-1990s, 17 different products — from semiconductors to computer monitors, TFT-LCD screens to color picture tubes—climbed into the ranks of the top-five products for global market share in their respective areas, and 12 others achieved top market ranking in their areas. In 1995, the World's first 33" double-screen TV was introduced. In 1997, Samsung
Developed the world's lightest PCS (105g), the world's largest TFT-LCD and the world's first 30" TFT-LCD.
In 1992, Samsung completed the world's first 64M DRAM and the world's first 64M DRAM. In 1994, the development of world's first 256M DRAM completed. In 1996, development of the 1G DRAM was completed. Samsung developed world's fastest CPU (central processing unit), the Alpha chip and began mass production of 64M DRAMs. In 1998, the world's first 128M SDRAM was introduced and development of world's first 128MB Synchronous DRAM and 128MB Flash memory were completed,
Samsung in the Late 1990s and the 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crisis
The 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crisis affected nearly all Korean businesses, but Samsung was one of few companies that continued growing, thanks to its leadership in digital and network technologies and its steady concentration on electronics, finances, and related services.
Samsung was the one chaebol that emerged from the 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crisis leaner and meaner than before, capable of going head to head with any company in the world.Samsung responded to the crisis by reducing the number of its affiliated companies to 45 (according to the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act), decreasing personnel by almost 50,000, selling 10 business units, and improving the soundness of its financial structure, lowering its 365 percent debt ratio in 1997 to 148 percent by late 1999.
Don Lee wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “At the onset of the financial crisis, Samsung was South Korea's No. 2 chaebol behind Hyundai, the car and shipbuilding giant. Samsung was reeling from a failed bid to build a car-making business.” Chairman Lee Kun Hee “began to shake things up. He laid off tens of thousands of workers and imposed other brutal cuts. Office workers recalled bringing their own coffee mugs to save on the cost of paper cups. The change in culture coincided with a sharper focus on Samsung's core products -- semiconductors, liquid crystal displays and mobile phones. [Source: Don Lee, Los Angeles Times, September 25, 2005]
In 1997, Samsung announced 2nd phase of new management. In 1998 the company served as Olympic Partner at Nagano Winter Olympics. In 1999, Samsung Aerospace (known today as Samsung Techwin), Daewoo Heavy Industries, and Hyundai Space and Aircraft formed a single business entity, Korea Aerospace Industries.
Jong Yong Yun, who has served as CEO of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. since 1997 is given a lot of credit for maneuvering Samsung through the 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crisis and poising it take of afterwards. The soft-spoken engineer aimed to make the company lean, mean, flexible and responsive. He lead the company through the Asian economic crisis in 1997-1998 by cutting 30,000 of its 70,000 workers, shedding noncore units, demanding that individual factories be profitable on their own, and merging wireless technologies with everyday gadgets that people use. Under his leadership, the company became very good at anticipating trends and making money from them.
Samsung Becomes a Powerhouse Company in the 2000s
In 2001, Samsung displaced Hyundai as South Korea’s largest conglomerate and was largest company by market capitalization in South Korea, Ken Belson wrote in The New York Times: Samsung emerged from the 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crisis “as a powerhouse, thanks to relentless cost-cutting and aggressive marketing campaigns. The company made a splash when it helped sponsor the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. Quickly, Samsung was everywhere, selling semiconductors, televisions, cellphones, music players and digital cameras. [Source: Ken Belson The New York Times, July 26, 2005]
By the early 2000s, Samsung Electronics Co. was a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2003 parent company sales of US$36.4 billion and net income of US$5 billion. At that time the company employed approximately 88,000 people in 89 offices in 46 countries. There were five main business units: 1) Digital Appliance Business, 2) Digital Media Business, 3) LCD Business, 4) Semiconductor Business and 5) Telecommunication Network Business. Recognized as one of the fastest growing global brands,
In 2002, Samsung was the world’s second largest chipmaker and had $6 billion in earnings on $33 billion in sales. Samsung Electronics shipped out 14.5 percent of South Korea’s exports and was the world’s third most profitable electronic firm after General Electric and Microsoft. Sony had higher sales than Samsung but its profitability was lower
In 2003, Samsung was the world’s largest manufacturer of memory chips and flat screens for televison and computers, the No. 3 maker of cell phones after Nokia of Finland and Motorola in the United States, and the No. 2 maker of DVD players. As of 2003, it market capitalization made up 18 percent of the total value of the South Korean stock market and was higher than that of Sony, its Japanese rival..
In the early 2000s, Samsung viewed Sony as its main competitor and their goal was to be the first truly global Korean brand. To gain exposure, Samsung sponsored the Olympics, World Cup and athletes like South Korean golfer Park. It name was prominently featured in films like Spiderman. A spokesman for Samsung told the New York Times: “We are into every kind of electronic product, from chips to cell phones.” Among its $26.6 billion in sales 30 percent was in telecommunications, mainly cell phones; 29 percent was in digital media such as monitors, televisions and personal computers; 27 percent was in semiconductors; 10 percent was in appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners and microwave ovens; and 6 percent was in other.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons.
Text Sources: South Korean government websites, Korea Tourism Organization, Cultural Heritage Administration, Republic of Korea, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Chunghee Sarah Soh in “Countries and Their Cultures”, “Columbia Encyclopedia”, Korea Times, Korea Herald, The Hankyoreh, JoongAng Daily, Radio Free Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, AFP, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.
Updated in July 2021