5 Things You Didn't Know About Samsung
Samsung is one of the largest companies in the world, a leading maker of smartphones, memory chips and televisions. Lately, it's best known for the popular Galaxy S7 smartphone, which includes all the latest technology, a customized version of Google's Android software and is even waterproof. But the South Korean company had a humble start in the 1930s.
Trading dried fish
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.
The second Android phone
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.
Theme Park Owner
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.
Bonfire of the fax machines
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.
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