Samsung is a South Korean company originally founded as a grocery trading store by Lee Byung-Chull in March 1938. The company forayed in the electronics industry in 1969 and its first electronic product was a black-and-white television. Soon, the company also started exporting its products and became a major electronic manufacturer in its home country. In 1970, the company acquired a 50 per cent stake in Korea Semiconductor.
Witnessing a rapid expansion in the early 1980s, the company established separate branches for its various electronics businesses. It is at this time that the company also made investments in two research & development institutes which helped it become the market leader in information technology services. By 1990s, the company had become one of the top five electronics makers in the world and was mainly known for its semiconductors, LCD screens and other technology products.
Samsung forayed into mobile phones in 2000 with the launch of a feature phone with built-in camera that could take up to 20 photos at a time. By late 2000, the company had launched several phones, but its global success story started with the launch of the Galaxy S series of smartphones that used the company’s OLED screen technology and hummingbird processor. Besides smartphones, the company is also a major vendor of tablet computers, particularly Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab-series, and is regarded as the originator of the phablet category through its Samsung Galaxy Note-series devices.
Now, Samsung is one of the major manufacturers of electronic components globally. It is also one of the major suppliers of electronic products like batteries, semiconductors, chips, flash memory and hard drive to companies such as Apple, Sony, Nokia, etc. Samsung has also been the world's largest manufacturer of television since 2006, and of smartphones since 2011. In 2017, the company overtook Intel to also become the world's largest manufacturer of semiconductor chips.