The tech industry is booming in the modern world, with a few giant companies ruling the roost. Of these, Samsung is among the best-known corporations. It started quite some decades ago but is now a large empire for smartphones and other types of electronics. Through its expansion, Samsung has also brought a new level of innovation to the tech market and many others as well.
Entrepreneurs from all kinds of industries should probably read up on the history of Samsung. It has both its low and high points, with several lessons on success along the way. Below are some interesting facts about the company that might inspire many businesses today as well:
The founder of Samsung, Lee Byung-Chul, predicted that the company would become much bigger than its humble beginnings. This is why he chose the name we all know today. In Korean, the name Samsung translates to “three stars”. The tri-star symbol culturally represents something that’s large, powerful, and abundant. The company can certainly be called all these adjectives. The number 3 is also considered very lucky in most Asian countries. Stars also symbolize eternity in the Korean culture, so the longevity of the company was predicted right at the beginning.
Such a claim back in 1938, when the company had just started, was quite a bold one. Samsung started as a trading company with forty employees. It focused on noodle production and locally grown produce. Now, we know it as a giant in the realm of tech, electronics, and much more.
The Number Today
From the forty employees and local produce, Samsung has now expanded to about 88 branches and employees more than 370,000 people. These numbers are still growing and will probably continue to do so over the years.
This makes Samsung more than a company that produces electronics and cell phones. It has around 59 companies that are unlisted, with 19 listed. Every one of these companies is on the Korea exchange and deal in financial services, construction, medication, shipbuilding, etc. This means that there’s something for every kind of employee and customer when it comes to the Samsung name.
One interesting fact here is that the construction section of Samsung actually built the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. This is the tallest building in the world and has an aesthetically pleasing design as well.
Samsung began branching out into electronics back in 1970, with humble offerings like a black and white TV. Its foray into the mobile or cellphone sector began with its car phone in 1986. The televisions were well received, the car phone was not.
This is quite surprising since the company had expanded quite a bit by then. However, it just goes to show that even a company that’s growing successfully might not always come out with a hit product. Still, Samsung refused to get discouraged in the phone market. Now, of course, it’s acclaimed as one of the best phone manufacturers in the world. Even the retina display in Apple’s iPad comes from Samsung.
Changes in Logo
There are some giant corporations which have seen many changes in their logo. The soft drink companies Coca-Cola and Pepsi are among the most famous examples. Samsung’s biggest rival, Apple, as also seen some changes from its multicolored apple to the neutral, elegant one we know today.
The Samsung logo also saw many changes before the 70s, but it stayed more or less constant after that. Only three more changes and the logo has stayed the same simple one since 1993. This is probably for the best, as too many changes can confuse customers. If the logo is working for the company, it shows they’re comfortable with it and don’t want to waste time or money in more needless changes.
The real turning point for Samsung was probably when it started becoming the Samsung Electronics we know today. This came about when Chairman Lee Kun Hee wanted to change many aspects of the company and how it worked in order to enhance product quality above all. He hence encouraged every staff member to change everything about their working and strive for excellence in every way.
The Human Resource Development Center at Samsung promoted this notion by helping their professional growth of their employees. They accomplished this with courses in development and training. The method is quite commendable, and the company developed the workforce they already had instead of replacing them.
Destroying $50 Million
While the push for change might have started in 1993, it wasn’t until two years later that the point was actually driven home. Kun Hee Lee did his best for that time, but would still find that the products lacked quality and that no one was actually trying to change direction. He then proved how serious he was by having all the phones, televisions, and other electronics piled up in one place. Then, the board of director, including Lee, destroyed every one of the products, even using hammers to break screens and stubborn cases.
The witnesses to this powerful demonstration were no less than 2000 employees. The hardware destroyed was worth over $50 million. This is what it took for the new Samsung to rise from the ashes. A new management then began and quickly grew, including global expansion and success. The momentum hasn’t slowed much in the following decade either.
The step taken by Lee might seem drastic, but it definitely worked in favor of the company. This was only the first of many seemingly outrageous actions by Samsung to go in the direction it wants.
Surviving the Crisis
One proof of the Samsung greatness is that it managed to survive unscathed in the financial crisis in 1997. This was due to its high-quality products, dedication to work, and ability to adapt. There might also have been several other factors in place. Other South Korean companies, even the major ones, weren’t so lucky.
Many customers of Samsung and its competitors are still debating upon the best company for tech products, especially when it comes to smartphones. This might be a matter of personal preference at the end of the day, but it’s evident that Samsung is a booming success even after a string of failures. It might also have taken some questionable actions to get Samsung where it is today.
Many business managers might take a lesson from this as well, doing what’s best for the company and working with the employees instead of against them.