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Lee Byung-chul

Lee Byung-chul (February 12, 1910 — November 19, 1987) was the founder of the Samsung Group and one of South Korea's most successful businessmen. Today, Samsung is the largest corporate group in South Korea with around 370,000 employees.

The Samsung Group is a South Korean multinationalconglomerateheadquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous subsidiaries and affiliated businesses united under the largest South Korean brand — Samsung.

Notable Samsung industrial affiliates include: Samsung Electronics, the world's 2nd largest information technology company measured by revenue; Samsung Heavy Industries, the world's 2nd largest shipbuilder; Samsung Engineering and Samsung C&T, respectively the world's 13th and 36th largest construction companies; Hanwha Techwin, a weapons technology and optoelectronics company.

Other notable subsidiaries include Samsung Life Insurance, the world's 14th largest life insurance company, and Cheil Worldwide, the world's 15th largest advertising agency. Samsung C&T Corporation is also the owner of Everland Resort, the oldest theme park in South Korea.

Samsung produces around one fifth of South Korea's total exports, its revenue being greater than the GDP of many countries, and in 2006, it was the world’s 35th largest company. 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”.

Samsung was started on March 1, 1938 in a dilapidated house in Taegu (present-day Daegu) in Japanese Korea, and today it is one of the world’s most valuable companies.

In 1938, Lee Byung-chull of a large landowning family in the Uiryeong County moved to the nearby Daegu city and founded Samsung Sanghoe. Samsung started out as a small trading company with forty employees located in Su-dong. It dealt with locally-grown produce and noodles. The company prospered and Lee moved its head office to Seoul in 1947. When the Korean War broke out, he was forced to leave Seoul. He started a sugar refinery in Busan. In 1954, Lee founded Cheil Mojik and built a factory in Daegu. It was the largest woollen mill in the country.

Lee sought to establish Samsung as the leader in a wide range of industries. Samsung moved into lines of business such as insurance, securities and retail. President Park Chung Hee recognized the great importance of industrialization. He focused his economic development strategy on a handful of large domestic conglomerates, assisting them financially. In 1947, Cho Hong-jai, the founder of Hyosung group, together with Samsung's founder Lee Byung-chul, invested in a new company called Samsung Mulsan Gongsa, or the Samsung Trading Corporation. After a few years, Cho and Lee separated due to differences in management style.

According to Samsung's founder, Lee Byung-chul, Samsung was founded with the intention of becoming something great, which is reflected in the name of the company itself. The name Samsung consists of the words “sam”, meaning “three”, and “sung”, meaning “stars”, i.e. “three stars”, representing something “big, numerous and powerful”.

In the late 1960s, the Samsung Group entered the electronics industry. It formed several electronics-related divisions, such as Samsung Electronics Devices, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Samsung Corning and Samsung Semiconductor & Telecommunications, and built a facility in Suwon. The company’s first product was a black-and-white television set.

Following Lee's death in 1987, the Samsung Group was separated into four business groups the Samsung Group, Shinsegae Group, CJ Group and Hansol Group. In 1980, Samsung Electronics began investing a lot of money in research and development, and those investments played a pivotal role in pushing the company to the forefront of the global electronics industry. In 1982, a television assembly plant was built in Portugal; in 1984, a factory was built in New York; in 1985, a factory was built in Tokyo; a plant was built in England; another plant was built in Austin, Texas, in 1996. Samsung has invested more than USD 13 billion in the Austin facility. This makes the Austin location the largest foreign investment in Texas and one of the greatest foreign investments in the United States.

Since its foundation, Samsung’s logo has only been redesigned three times, and the version used today was created in 1993. The first two versions of the logo also featured three stars.

Samsung SCH-100 released back in 1996 was the very first phone to utilize CDMA technology. Although today we use fast 4G (LTE) technologies, in the days of GSM, CDMA was a breath of fresh air and a true improvement when it comes to mobile networks.

Samsung was the first to introduce the smart watch, back in 1999. Interestingly, it was possible to connect this watch without tethering with any other device. It was dubbed the SPH-WP10. This watch allowed you to make phone calls lasting for up to 90 minutes, after which the battery would be drained. It had a monochrome LCD display and physical buttons for navigating the interface. It also featured voice commands, i.e. a voice dialer. Since it did not look very appealing, this watch didn’t find commercial success, but it’s good to know that such a device was around 19 years ago.

Samsung became famous for several reasons. On the one hand, there are the rise of smartphones and the loyalty of users who own middle and high-ranking devices. On the other hand, Samsung invests enormous amounts of money into marketing and advertising. Samsung’sTV commercials and billboards are almost impossible to miss anywhere in the world.

Samsung also invests a lot into R&D. The marketing budget is staggering – USD 3.3 billion, which puts it at No. 20 on the list of the world’s largest company budgets, just below Nike, with a budget of USD 3.7 billion.

Interesting facts about Samsung:

Samsung is made up of 80 companies and employs 370,000 people.

As we all know, Samsung is more than just a manufacturer and seller of mobile phones and other electronics. The Samsung Group consists of numerous companies whose activities range from construction and financial services, to shipbuilding, and even medicine. The 828-meter tall Burj Khalifa building in Dubai, which is currently the tallest building in the world, was designed by one of Samsung’s project engineering teams.

Samsung makes components for Apple.

Samsung uses its experience to help not only other companies, but also its biggest competitors. The fact that these two giants are direct competitors hasn’t stopped them from working together. Samsung manufactures SSD storage devices for Apple computers, as well as Retina displays for iPad. It is highly likely that Samsung also makes other components for rival companies. Ultimately, Samsung Mobile makes up only 30% of Samsung Electronics’ revenue, so there is nothing wrong with making more money “on the side” at the expense of mobile phones.