Samsung: From Small Business to Worldwide Corporate Empire

Samsung, like many successful businesses, started small. The company was founded in pre-World War II Korea as a vegetable and fish exporter, a far cry from the company’s modern, high-tech operations. As is also true of the most successful businesses, Samsung has evolved with the times, staying just ahead of emerging business and consumer trends.

One component of Samsung’s successful business model has involved diversification into a number of industries, including petro-chemicals, insurance, home appliances and electronics. Samsung accounts for 17 percent of Korea’s annual gross domestic product and operates 26 different subsidiary entities under its immense corporate umbrella. The company employs enough workers, over 230,000, to populate a small American city. Around one-third of Samsung’s employees are based in Korea, while the remainder work at one of Samsung’s corporate holdings located around the world. Another key component of Samsung’s success is a large marketing and advertising budget. Samsung continually outmarkets its competitors, an effort that is obviously paying off. An estimated 100 Samsung televisions are purchased every minute, and the company sold 406 million mobile phones in 2011 alone.

Samsung is a world leader in consumer electronics, and a large percentage of Samsung’s $247 billion in net sales for 2011 were derived from the company’s popular mobile phone and smartphone products. Millions of users around the world now surf the web using Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartphone, equipped with an 800 MHz processor and 4 GB internal memory. The Galaxy Gear phone also includes dozens of apps and additional features, such as a camera that records and takes still photographs, voice command capacity, a pedometer and an emergency contact system that will relay the user’s location to a specified contact list at the touch of a button. Samsung’s newest “smart” product, a watch-sized smartphone designed to be worn on the wrist, was released in late 2013. Like most ground-breaking new products it has a few detractors, but Samsung is already taking steps to improve its newest product with the same enthusiasm and foresight that has kept the company at the top of its game for over 60 years.

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