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
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
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