From its inception as a small export business in Korea, Samsung has grown to become one of the world’s leading electronics companies, specializing in digital appliances and media, semiconductors, memory, and system integration. Samsung was founded on March 1st, 1938 by focusing primarily on trade export, selling dried Korean fish, vegetables, and fruit to Manchuria and Beijing. In little more than a decade, Samsung-which means "three stars" in Korean-would have its own flour mills and confectionery machines, its own manufacturing and sales operations, and ultimately evolve to become the modern global corporation that still bears the same name today ("Samsung ," ).
During the 1970’s, 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 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 Korean market, began to export its products for the first time during this period. Samsung's also acquired a 50 percent stake in Korea Semiconductor, further solidifying Samsung Electronics' position as a leader in semiconductor manufacturing ("Samsung ," )
During the Mid 90’s, came about the Asian financial crisis. The Asian financial crisis was a period of financial crisis that gripped much of East Asia, and raised fears of a worldwide economic meltdown due to financial contagion. The banking sector was burdened with non-performing loans as its large corporations were funding aggressive expansions. During that time, there was a haste to build great conglomerates to compete on the world stage. Many businesses ultimately failed to ensure returns and profitability. The chaebol, South Korean conglomerates, simply absorbed more and more capital investment. Eventually, excess debt led to major failures and takeovers.
Despite the 1997 financial crisis that affected nearly all Korean businesses, Samsung was one of few companies that continued growing, thanks to its leadership in digital and network technologies and its steady concentration on electronics, finances, and related services. Samsung responded to the crisis by reducing the number of its affiliated companies to 45 (according to the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act), decreasing personnel by almost 50,000, selling 10 business units, and improving the soundness of its financial structure, lowering its 365 percent debt ratio in 1997 to 148 percent by late 1999.
Today Samsung's innovative and top quality products and processes are world recognized. Since its founding, Samsung has been committed to expanding its product lines and reach, growing its revenue and market share, and has followed its...