In the past year and a half, Samsung, a company that makes everything from dishwashers to smartphones, has become one the most powerful and recognisable names in tech. A lot of people are even lumping Samsung together with Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google as one of the most important tech companies right now.
So how did Samsung get to where it is today?
We took a look at the company’s history, starting way back in 1938 when it was a company that exported dried fish to China.
Note: Much of this information comes from Samsung’s official corporate history and various reports and stories about the company.
Samsung was founded by Byung-Chull Lee in 1938 in Taegu, Korea. The company started as a food exporter in Korea and shipped items like dried fish and flour to China.
Samsung got into other businesses throughout the 1950s and 1960s, including life insurance and textiles.
Samsung Electronics started in 1969. That division mostly made TVs. Samsung's first black and white TV went on sale in 1970.
Samsung expanded into even more fields in the 1970s, including petrochemicals. It also started making washing machines, refrigerators, and microwaves.
Samsung began to focus even more on electronics in the 1980s. The company began producing colour TVs, personal computers, VCRs, and tape recorders. This was also the decade Samsung started exporting more of its products to North America.
Samsung teamed up with BP in 1989 to form Samsung BP Chemicals. The company sells chemical products in Korea.
In the early and mid-1990s, Samsung started producing memory and hard drives for use in personal computers. That's still a big part of Samsung's business today.
According to company legend, one of Samsung's first mobile phones did not work when it came out in 1995. When Samsung's chairman Kun-Hee Lee found out, he visited the factory where the phones were made and reportedly had the entire inventory burned.
After that initial slip up, Samsung began taking mobile more seriously by the late 1990s. It released one of its first Internet-ready phones in 1999. Mobile would eventually grow into Samsung's most profitable business.
In the late 1990s, Samsung made more advances in television. It created the world's first mass-produced digital TV in 1998. It had a full lineup of digital TVs by 1999.
Samsung began making HD TVs in the early 2000s. It went on to make Blu-Ray players and other home theatre equipment. Today, Samsung makes some of the best HD TVs you can buy.
Samsung introduced its first flagship Android phone, the Galaxy S, at the Mobile World Congress in 2010. The phone is now in its third generation and regarded as one of the best smartphones you can buy.
Samsung released the Galaxy Tab in the fall of 2010. The 7-inch device was the first mainstream Android tablet.
Samsung showed off its take on the future of television at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. The company's new Smart TVs suck in programming data from your cable or satellite provider and recommend shows and movies.
And that brings us to today. Thanks in part to its marketing success and great products, Samsung makes more smartphones than any other competitor. And it continues to make all sorts of electronics and components. If it runs on electricity, Samsung probably makes it.
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