|The Samsung headquarters|
Samsung Group (Hangul: 삼성그룹; Hanja: 三星그룹; Korean pronunciation: [sam.sʌŋ ɡɯ’ɾup̚]) is a South Korean multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous subsidiaries and affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest South Korean chaebol.
Samsung was founded by Lee Byung-chull in 1938 as a trading company. Over the next three decades the group diversified into areas including food processing, textiles, insurance, securities and retail. Samsung entered the electronics industry in the late 1960s and the construction and shipbuilding industries in the mid-1970s; these areas would drive its subsequent growth. Following Lee’s death in 1987, Samsung was separated into four business groups – Samsung Group, Shinsegae Group, CJ Group and Hansol Group. Since the 1990s Samsung has increasingly globalised its activities, and electronics, particularly mobile phones and semiconductors, has become its most important source of income.
Notable Samsung industrial subsidiaries include Samsung Electronics (the world’s largest information technology company measured by 2012 revenues), Samsung Heavy Industries (the world’s second-largest shipbuilder measured by 2010 revenues), and Samsung Engineering and Samsung C&T (respectively the world’s 15th- and 63nd-largest construction companies). Other notable subsidiaries include Samsung Life Insurance (the world’s 14th-largest life insurance company), Samsung Everland (operator of Everland Resort, the oldest theme park in South Korea), Samsung Techwin (an aerospace, surveillance and defence company) and Cheil Worldwide (the world’s 16th-largest advertising agency measured by 2011 revenues).
Samsung has a powerful influence on South Korea’s economic development, politics, media and culture, and has been a major driving force behind the “Miracle on the Han River“. Its affiliate companies produce around a fifth of South Korea’s total exports. Samsung’s revenue was equal to 17% of the South Korea’s $1082 billion GDP.
Facts and History
According to the founder of Samsung Group, the meaning of the Korean hanja word Samsung (三星) is “tristar” or “three stars”. The word “three” represents something “big, numerous and powerful”; the “stars” mean eternity
In 1938, Lee Byung-chull (1910–1987) of a large landowning family in the Uiryeong county came to the nearby Daegu city and founded Samsung Sanghoe (삼성상회, 三星商會), a small trading company with forty employees located in Su-dong (now Ingyo-dong). It dealt in groceries produced in and around the city and produced its own noodles. The company prospered and Lee moved its head office to Seoul in 1947. When the Korean War broke out, however, he was forced to leave Seoul and started a sugar refinery in Busan named Cheil Jedang. After the war, in 1954, Lee founded Cheil Mojik and built the plant in Chimsan-dong, Daegu. It was the largest woollen mill ever in the country and the company took on the aspect of a major company.
Samsung diversified into many areas and Lee sought to help establish Samsung as an industry leader in a wide range of enterprises, moving into businesses such as insurance, securities, and retail. Lee placed great importance on industrialization, and focused his economic development strategy on a handful of large domestic conglomerates, protecting them from competition and assisting them financially.
In 1948, Cho Hong-jai (the Hyosung group’s founder) jointly invested in a new company called Samsung Mulsan Gongsa (삼성물산공사), or the Samsung Trading Corporation, with the Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-chull. The trading firm grew to become the present-day Samsung C&T Corporation. But after some years Cho and Lee separated due to differences in management between them. He wanted to get up to a 30% group share. After settlement, Samsung Group was separated into Samsung Group and Hyosung Group, Hankook Tire, and others.
In the late 1960s, Samsung Group entered into the electronics industry. It formed several electronics-related divisions, such as Samsung Electronics Devices Co., Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co., Samsung Corning Co., and Samsung Semiconductor & Telecommunications Co., and made the facility in Suwon. Its first product was a black-and-white television set..