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On March 1, 1938, founding chairman Byung-Chull Lee started a business in Taegu, Korea with 30,000 won. At first, Mr. Lee's little business was primarily in trade export, selling dried Korean fish, vegetables, and fruit to Manchuria and Beijing. But in just over a decade, SAMSUNG - meaning literally "three stars" in Korean - would have its own flour mills and confectionery machines, its own manufacturing and sales operations, and ultimately become the roots of the modern global corporation that still bears the same name today.
Throughout the 1970s, SAMSUNG laid the strategic foundations for its future growth by investing in the heavy, chemical, and petrochemical industries. The company's second "Five-Year Management Plan," announced in August 1973, targeted these industries and also introduced SAMSUNG to the shipbuilding industry. 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 Company (created when SAMSUNG acquired Daesung Heavy Industry Company) and SAMSUNG Precision Company (now SAMSUNG Techwin) in 1977.
Another burst of growth for SAMSUNG came from the burgeoning home electronics business. SAMSUNG Electronics, already a major manufacturer in the domestic (Korean) market, began to export its products for the first time during this period. Another significant development was SAMSUNG's 1974 acquisition of a 50 percent stake in Korea Semiconductor, further consolidating SAMSUNG Electronics' reign as a leader in semiconductor manufacturing.
The late 70s and early 80s represented a time of increasing diversification and global growth for SAMSUNG's core technology businesses.
In 1978, SAMSUNG Semiconductor and SAMSUNG Electronics became separate entities as new products were introduced to the global market. SAMSUNG only produced semiconductors for the domestic market until the successful development of a 64K DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) VLSI chip in December 1983, when it became a world leader in semiconductor products.
SAMSUNG Precision Company (established in 1977) laid the foundation in another high-tech industry - aerospace. Renamed SAMSUNG Aerospace Industries in February 1987 (now known as SAMSUNG Techwin), SAMSUNG has been developing its aerospace capabilities with unprecedented speed ever since. Future plans include the development of future space stations - and even space facilities for the Moon and Mars in the early 21st century.
The mid-80s also saw SAMSUNG entering the systems development business, establishing SAMSUNG Data Systems in 1985 (now known as 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 another key development in the mid-80s with the creation of the company's two Research & Development institutes, SAMSUNG Economic Research Institute (SERI) in 1986 and SAMSUNG Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) in 1987. Together, these two pioneering R&D organizations have helped SAMSUNG 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.
On November 19, 1987, SAMSUNG's founding Chairman Byung-Chull Lee passed away after almost fifty years at the helm of the company. His son, Kun-Hee Lee succeeded him as the new Chairman. On the 50th anniversary of SAMSUNG's founding in 1988, he announced the "Second Foundation" of the company, directing SAMSUNG's growth towards becoming a world-class 21st century corporation.
For this "Second Foundation," 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. The merger of SAMSUNG Electronics and SAMSUNG Semiconductor & Telecommunications was undoubtedly a key strategic moment in the progress towards this goal. For the first time in the group's history, SAMSUNG was now in a position to maximize its technological resources and develop value-added products.
The integration of overlapping projects also reduced costs and efficiently utilized capital and labor. By the late 80s, SAMSUNG's efforts to create consolidation of its electronics and heavy companies started to pay off with a well-regarded reputation matching the high-tech products the company was now known for.

Source: Samsung. More Samsung History

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