January 27, 2011 / 7:57 AM / 8 years ago

TIMELINE - Samsung's growth to a top global brand

REUTERS - Samsung Group, headquartered in Seoul, is South Korea’s largest chaebol, and accounts for 20 percent of the country’s exports. It is also the world’s second-largest conglomerate by revenue.

A company logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at its headquarters in Seoul March 19, 2010. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won/Files

Here’s a timeline of the group’s growth from its humble beginnings in Daegu, now a major metropolitan area in the southeast of the country.

1938: Lee Byung-chull, son of a wealthy landowner and rice miller, opens a company trading groceries and making noodles.

1948: He officially sets up Samsung Corp before expanding the business later into trucking, textiles and sugar refining.

1950s: Samsung expands into many other areas including department stores, the Joongang Ilbo daily newspaper, a shipbuilder, a securities company and a chemical firm.

1969: Samsung Electronics is established. It produces its first black-and-white TVs in 1972 and expands to refrigerators, washing machines and colour TVs during the 1970s.

1977: Samsung acquires a Korean semiconductor manufacturing firm, which later grows to become the world’s top memory chip making business.

1983: Samsung Electronics starts manufacturing computers, enters 64k DRAM business.

1987: Lee Byung-chull dies. His third son Lee Kun-hee takes over as group chairman. He changes the focus of the group from a mass-producer of lower-end goods to one that would use innovation and superior products to build a respected brand name.

1992: Samsung becomes the largest producer of memory chips in the world.

1995: Lee Kun-hee starts Samsung Motor, builds LCD plant and first liquid crystal display screen.

1997: Samsung enters the mobile phone business

1998: South Korea tumbles into Asia financial crisis; Samsung Motor sold to Renault at significant loss; Samsung Electronics becomes world’s top LCD producer.

2005: Samsung surpasses Sony as most popular consumer electronics brand.

2008: Lee Kun-hee steps down as chairman after being convicted of tax evasion and breach of trust stemming from allegations he was trying to illegally transfer group equity ownership to his children.

2009: Lee Kun-hee granted a presidential pardon.

March 2010: Lee returns to Samsung as chairman

December 2010: Jay Y. Lee, the only son of Lee Kun-hee and considered heir to the Samsung throne, is appointed one of the presidents of Samsung Electronics.

Compiled by Miyoung Kim and Bill Tarrant

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