Samsung was founded in 1938 by Byung-Chull Lee and it started off selling fruits, vegetables and dried fish to China. In Korean, the word “Samsung” means three stars, as three is considered a lucky number and Lee wanted the company to be as long-lasting as the stars. The electronics division, started as Samsung-Sanyo Electronics, opened in 1969 and produced its first black and white TV set a year later.
Samsung almost went bankrupt in the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The company had to layoff 24,000 people, almost one-third of its total workforce, and slash capital spending to survive. Many manufacturing jobs were moved to lower-wage countries like China, Mexico, and Brazil.
Samsung didn’t make the very first Google Android phone – that would be HTC’s G1. But it was quick to follow a few months later with its first Android model, the Galaxy i7500. The clunky black phone introduced in 2009 had a 3.2-inch touch screen and a 5 megapixel camera. It evolved into the Galaxy S the next year, which has since gone through may iterations leading up to this year’s Galaxy S7.
A unit of Samsung runs Everland, the largest theme park in South Korea and one of the 20 largest in the world. The park includes a zoo and geographically themed sections based on Europe and America.
In 1995, then chairman Lee Kun Hee wanted to impress the importance of quality manufacturing on his employees at a factory in Gumi. So he had the factory’s entire inventory of phones and fax machines assembled into a huge pile. Then, beneath a banner that read "Quality Is My Pride," he had workers smash each device and toss it onto a bonfire.