The early products of Samsung Electric Industries were mostly simple electronic appliances, such as televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines.
The first real expansion into high technology was marked by the 1974 acquisition of Korea Semiconductor, which was one of the first chipmakers in Korea. In 1980, Samsung acquired Korea Telecommunications.
Technology took yet more turns for the better at breakneck pace following the decision made by the late Samsung founder in 1983 that the company would jump into the dynamic random access memory chip business.
A year later, Samsung became the third company in the world to develop a 64 kilobyte DRAM chip.
Samsung Electronics now stands as the world’s largest memory chipmaker and has a share of almost 60 percent in the global mobile DRAM market.
But going back again in time, it was following the founder’s death in 1987 that Samsung Electric Industries merged with Samsung Semiconductor and Communications to officially launch Samsung Electronics under the leadership of Lee Kun-hee.
Lee, from the start, decided that the electronics unit would form the crux of the Samsung empire. Shortly after he took over, he issued the so-called Frankfurt declaration, where he became famous for urging his employees to “change everything but your wife and kids.”
This was the famous “New Management Initiative” that the junior Lee pursued that turned out to be a magic formula for Samsung Electronics and the strategy that put the new Samsung head on the corporate map.
Under his guidance, Samsung posted net earnings higher than 5 percent between 2000-2003, when most of Korea’s 30 top had ceased to operate or were suspended indefinitely in the wake of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.
And the figures go on.
In 2005, Samsung Electronics surpassed Sony, the top electronics maker at the time and Samsung’s chief rival, for the first time to become the world’s 20th-largest and most popular consumer brand, according to Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy.
In 2007, Samsung Electronics became the world’s second-largest mobile phone maker, overtaking Motorola for the first time. In 2009, Samsung achieved revenues of $117.4 billion, overtaking Hewlett-Packard to become the world’s largest technology company in terms of sales.
In 2011, Samsung Electronics was named the world’s 12th most powerful brand by Forbes magazine and was ranked ninth in global brand value by Interbrand.
By Kim Ji-hyun (email@example.com)