How former noodle-maker Samsung grew into one of the largest companies on Earth

Samsung is huge. And it’s everywhere. Even in your iPhone.

At 829.8 metres, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest structure ever constructed.

Guess who built it?

And guess who built Taipei 101, tallest building ever before it was dwarfed by the gargantuan Burj Khalifa? And the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, tallest building ever before that?

Built by Samsung, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest man-made structure in the world, standing at 829.8 metres.

Humble beginnings of a global juggernaut

Lee Byung-chul founded Samsung in 1938 as a trading company dealing in local groceries. It produced noodles before expanding into sugar and, later, wool.

It had 40 employees (today it has 500 000!).

By the late 1950s Samsung diversified into food processing, textiles, insurance, securities and retail.

It wasn’t until the late 1960s that Samsung moved into electronics. It produced its first ever electronic product - a small, black-and-white television – in 1970 and got into construction and shipbuilding in the mid-1970s.

Samsung made noodles long before it made the Galaxy S6.

Samsung becomes recognised globally

Samsung produced its first computer in 1983.

It was only since the 1990s that Samsung globalised its activities to become a household name all over the world.

From smartphones to cameras, from refrigerators to televisions; today Samsung seems omnipresent.

Samsung's first ever computer.

Samsung is big. Extremely big…

  • Largest smartphone manufacturer in the world

  • Largest memory chip maker on Earth (many of Apple’s iPhones run on Samsung chips!)

  • Biggest television manufacturer in the world

  • Largest LCD-panel make in the world

  • Producer of 98 percent of the world’s AMOLED screens

  • It spent R165-billion on research and development in 2014

  • Samsung employs more people than Apple, Microsoft and Google combined

  • Revenue: Samsung $305 billion (Apple $183 billion; Google $66 billion)

  • Samsung makes up 17 percent of South Korea’s GDP. South Korea is the 11th largest economy in the world

Apple fanboi's would rather not know it; but their pride and joy probably sports a memory chip made by Samsung.

Samsung is everywhere

Samsung is a major manufacturer of surveillance equipment, military robots designed to replace human soldiers, jet engines, drones, 3D printers and tanks.

The list of things Samsung does that you wouldn’t expect goes on and on. It has its own city, its own clothing line and runs the largest theme park in Korea as well as a zoo (we’re not kidding!).

Every year Samsung injects almost R1.2 billion into its non-profit medical centre.

A military robot made by Samsung that looks disturbingly similar to ED-209 from the movie "RoboCop".

Watch this video about how a noodle-maker became one of the largest companies ever:

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