When you hear Samsung one thing that comes to your mind is ‘Smart Phones’ or Competitor of Apple, or Samsung Smart TVs however the company is far bigger than that. Although in 21st century it’s known for its galaxy series and recent Samsung Z flip series, however Samsung is a giant South Korean conglomerate that produces just about everything. You name it and they have it.
For those of you who don’t know, Samsung is a South Korean Conglomerate belonging to one of the richest family of South Korea. The Samsung group is Korea’s biggest conglomerate. It has 80 affiliates. One of its flagship company Samsung electronics is biggest company of South Korea ranking 15th in the world with market cap 438.840 billion USD.
That’s just surface information above, let’s dig deep into Samsung Group, who founded it, how did it become one of the largest conglomerates in the world?!
Who founded Samsung or who owns Samsung?
Samsung was founded by Lee Byung Chul in 1938, Lee Byung Chul belonged to a rich south Korean family. His family had a land owning business, so unlike many successful businessmen stories Lee byung chul didn’t have any financial problems. Perhaps starting the business was easy for him but what is more important here, is that Lee Byung Chul had the art of making money from money, the talent for running a business and converting a small trading business into a huge global business. Yes, you read it right Lee byung Chul started Samsung as a trading company in South Korea, back in 1938. The company transported household food items, like noodles and dried fish throughout South Korea and soon began to export goods to China and other countries as well. He started this business with $25 in his pocket. Today in 2022, that $25 has spiraled into at least 500 billion dollars in terms of revenue and assets. And the trading business has been expanded to electronics, realty, insurance, technology, hospitality, resorts, hotels, theme parks, retail businesses and clothing.
Read some Lee Byung Chul facts below in order to understand his background.
Some interesting facts about Lee byung chul
- Lee Byung Chul was the youngest heir of rich and reputed land owning family, Yangban. Born on 12 February 1910 in Korean empire.
- Lee Byung Chul is a college dropout I know you must be thinking, “duh, another college dropout story of a billionaire” well, it’s true, Lee Byung Chul did complete his highschool from joongdoon high school Seoul but failed to get a degree. He was studying at waseda University in Tokyo but didn’t complete his degree.
- Lee Byung chul started his business with $25 Like We mentioned above, Lee Byung Chul started Samsung company with $25 in 1938. Samsung means 3 stars in Korean.
- Lee Byung Chul’s family (Lee family) was the 2nd richest family in Asia in 2017
Samsung Group of companies is a family owned conglomerate. After Lee Byung died, the conglomerate was divided into four independent entities. Samsung, Samsung electronics, Hansol, CJ and shinsegae. Each company was given to each child of Lee Byung Chul. The lee byung chull family net worth according to frobes in 2017 was 40.8 billion dollars.
- Lee byung chul is known as father of industrialization in South Korea.
He was and still respected in South Korea and is known to be the first one to set South Korea’s industrialization and economic development in motion.
- Lee Byung chul has is a father of 8 children. Lee family was a family of 10 people. Lee Byung Chul, his wife park De seul and 8 children. He has 4 daughters and 3 sons. All lee byung children are owners of Samsung Group of companies. His son lee kun hee became the second President of Samsung after lee byung chull died. Lee kun hee had a huge role in the success of Samsung Electronics. Which is now the leading the Electronics Company in Korea as well as among Global Electronics leaders.
- Lee byung Chul’s second daughter married the chairman of LG company.
In 1956 Lee sok hee married an heir of keumsung family, the owners of LG group. As per Korean tradition, marriage is largely seen as a economic contract or development of business relations especially if the marriage is between the heirs of two huge business groups. It’s supposed to strengthen the professional relationship in market. However this marriage created tension between LG and Samsung when LG began to lead in South Korea in electronics industry. The relationship between two household became worse. After this Samsung started to expand in Electronics market as well.
I don’t know if you have watched Korean dramas, but Lee family is just like those mad rich Korean families with rivalries and schemes and money games.
- Lee byung chul expanded his trade business to textile after the Korean war.
During the Korean war, Seoul was taken over by North Korean army, due to this invasion, Lee Byung Chul had to move his entire business operations to Busan. This may seem like a blow to business, however the founder of Samsung was in for a treat. After the war, USA started to invest in South Korea. There was a heavy influx of equipment and Machineries. Which led to Lee expanding his business efficiently, later in 1961, the new south Korean government made protection policies that were benefiting local companies of South Korea, and at this point Samsung company tapped into textile industry and opened a largest mill of wool in South Korea. Lee byung chul aimed at redeveloping south Korea through industrialization.
- Lee Byung Chul was the richest man of south Korea in his time
Lee byung chul was not only considered a successful entrepreneur globally but due to his success and various achievements he had gathered in his lifetime enabled him to become a mad rich person. By mad rich I mean, Lee Byung chull made it to the absolute top of the pyramid by becoming the richest man In Korea for a time, now you can imagine what his net worth would have been. But to be exact, lee Byung chull networth before he died was supposed somewhere around 34 million dollars.
Lee Byung Chull died due to Lung cancer
Lee byung chull died on 19th November 1987 leaving behind an enormous legacy for his generations to follow and preserve. He died due to lung cancer. The spearhead of Samsung was 77 years old when he died. His son Lee kun hee followed his legacy and became second president of Samsung. He took Samsung electronics to another level of Success. However Lee Kun hee also died on 25th of October 2020.
Lee Byung Chul owns the biggest and monumental Art collections of Korea
Apart from being a business tycoon Lee Byung Chul was also an avid art collector. He started collecting art pieces during the time of samsung trading company. He used to love filling his house with beautiful and meaningful Paintings and calligraphies. According to the director of two Art museums Samsung Group owns, lee chong sung (the director) wrote in his book “lee art collection” that Lee byung chul was although a passionate Art collector but he never used to buy art pieces that were even rumoured to be too expensive, he was very meticulous about his buying decisions. On the contrast his third son lee kun hee however was a quite extravagant Art Collector. Although he learned from his father, but unlike him he used to buy the most expensive paintings and calligraphies without a second thought if a specialist told him that the artwork is a masterpiece. The family now has one the largest collection of art and national treasures in korea. On lee byung chul’s death, Ho-Am (Samsung owned art museum) was opened to public for visit.
The Samsung family’s art collection is worth 2.7 billion dollars.
Why did Lee Byung Chul create Samsung?
Why does any entrepreneur starts a business? Samsung too was a small trading business of a young but insanely talented Entrepreneur, Lee Byung Chul. When he started this business as a household and kitchen items trading company he probably had a vision. And as soon as the opportunity presented itself, Lee byung chul grabbed it and changed the world with his ideas. If there’s one thing the whole world knows about lee byung chul then it is that the man was a huge fanatic of industrialisation. He wanted to transform Korea through industrialisation and he wanted to expand Samsung in each and every industry and help build a futuristic society that provides solutions to everyday problems of masses.
The real expansion of samsung began after 1950, Korean War. Due to investments and machinery coming in Korea from United states, Chul seized the opportunity and set up a sugar mill first and shortly after Samsung opened the biggest korean wool factory and entered into textile for good. As the business grew, Chul also ventured into other business sectors like finance m, insurance, retail security.
In 1960, Samsung, true to its nature began crawling its way into Electronics industry and oh boy did they revolutionised it? Samsung became the market leader when it launched its first ever product- A black and white television. The conglomerate didn’t stop here obviously, Samsung soon had various electronic divisions like semi conductors, telecommunications and hardware etc focused on creating and building innovative technologies that are compatible with changing technology and competitive in Market as well. Soon Samung started building telephones, Fax machines, and other devices on large scale manufacturing. Fast forwarding to 1992, Samsung Became the number one memory chip production company internationally. It was the second best chip producing company after intel and in 1995 Samsung built the first ever LCD screen television completely changing the telecommunications industry. Samsung Contributes in 15 percent of South Korean economy (2012).
Samsung now employs 236000 staff in over 79 countries. Apart with creating revolutionary technology Samsung was the first one to built a fighter jet KF-16 for South Korean Air Force. When samsung first ventured into real estate business, it managed to acquire a deal in establishing Burj Al khalifa. Samsung sent its top notch engineers to contribute in the Burj Al khalifa Project. In 2017 Samsung’s QLED TV was the first TV capable of reaching 100 percent colour volume and giving a the most defined and original picture quality. Samsung has done many great things through out. In fact the conglomerate is not only profit oriented in terms of money but also it encourages sustainability. In collaboration with United nations, Samsung began working in 2015 to achieve 17 sustainable development goals like gender equality, climate change and combatting hunger through sustainable agriculture. The goal ultimatum is 2016-2030.
The company has been doing wonders and never backs off on its quality kf the products. We are sure Samsung will continue to lead the industries if it stayed on this direction.