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Although not initially the main focus of Samsung, their consumer electronics department has become one of the most globally dominant in the world. The company are serious competitors in the mobile phone market as well as maintaining a strong presence in several other sectors – including home entertainment systems as well as cameras. Samsung was founded in 1938 by Lee Byung-chul in his native Korea, swiftly becoming known for its diversity early on. Recognised as an operation that traded heavily in textiles, Samsung also developed a reputation for insurance management – as well as food processing appliances.
A brief history of Samsung
It was only in the 1960s – when entering the commercial electronics sector – that the company started to forge an identity for itself; over 50 years on, Samsung are enjoying a huge boom period – largely thanks to its Samsung Galaxy S mobile smart phone series selling over 200 million units combined. The company are also aggressively competing in the burgeoning tablet market, their sister Galaxy Tablet series often offered as part of any phone deal involving a Samsung handset – while also coming in at a price comparative with big rivals Apple. Some would argue that Samsung yield ground to their big rivals by not creating enough home-brand software to go with their devices. The benefits of Samsung using the Android operating system is the ease of its compatibility with third-parties – however this does mean that they tend to rely heavily on other sources, and cannot boast a flagship program such as iTunes.
Samsung have not given up on their ongoing development of home appliance products – continually releasing new innovations onto the market. They additionally continue to make cameras ranging from professional quality to amateur – although the demand for such products is being intentionally cannibalised thanks to the ongoing advancement of its smartphone photography technology.
Some of Samsung’s most notable deals over the years include their construction branch’s landmark deal to build one of the iconic Petronas Towers in Malaysia in the 1990s – as well as several other key Far East structures. In 1992 they were the largest maker of microchips in the world – strengthening their grip on the technology market by creating their first LCD screen in 1995. Their dominance in this field was such that competitors Sony asked to co-operate with them on LCD screen production – a partnership that lasted until Samsung bought Sony’s share outright in 2011.
It has not been a constantly upward trajectory for the company however. Like many in the Far East, Samsung suffered during the Asian financial crisis of 1997 – though not as badly hit as others, they were still forced to sell a large stake of their motoring division. They currently now yield over 80% of its ownership to French manufacturers Renault. They have also had run-ins with phone rivals Apple – resulting in an American court ruling that the Koreans would have to pay $1.05 billion for violating six of the American company’s patents in its smartphone technology. Apple also wanted several Samsung phones banned from the market, although this was denied by the courts.
The annual revenue of Samsung is around $327 billion with the company producing around a fifth of South Korea’s exports – in addition to this they now employ more than 284,000 people worldwide.