By Afshin Molavi
“Change everything, except your wife and children.” Those words by Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, uttered in 1993 at a low point in the company’s history, have become enshrined in the lore of the South Korean conglomerate that has become a global icon and one of the world’s leading smartphone players. Over the next two decades and a half, the “change everything” mantra came to represent a relentless drive for innovation, driving Samsung to the top ranks of consumer technology companies, infrastructure, and construction companies. It was a long road from the small trading company founded in 1938 by Lee’s father. At his death, Lee Kun-hee was South Korea’s richest person, with an estimated net worth exceeding $20 billion.
This story from TechCrunch offers a good round-up of the legacy of Samsung and Lee Kun-hee. An excerpt below
The story of Samsung is deeply intertwined with the history of its home country, which is sometimes dubbed “The Republic of Samsung.” Lee, the son of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul, came to power in the late 1980s just as South Korea transitioned from dictatorship to democracy with the political handover from military strongman Chun Doo-hwan to Roh Tae-woo. Under his management, Samsung spearheaded initiatives across a number of areas in electronics, including semiconductors, memory chips, displays, and other components that are the backbone of today’s digital devices.
Lee navigated the challenging economic troubles of the 1990s, including the 1998 Asian financial crisis, which saw a near collapse of the economies of South Korea and several other so-called Asian Tigers, as well as the Dot-Com bubble, which saw the collapse of internet stocks globally.
Coming out of those challenging years, Lee invested in and is probably most famous today for building up the conglomerate’s Galaxy consumer smartphone line, which evolved Samsung from an industrial powerhouse to a worldwide consumer brand. Samsung Electronics, which is just one of a spider web of Samsung companies, is today worth approximately $350 billion, making it among the most valuable companies in the world.
For the full story, see here
And for a round-up of stories in the Korean media, head over to the New Silk Road Monitor Newspaper Room, and scroll down to the Korea section.