SEOUL, KOREA — How would you define the word "leader" Or, what constitutes a "leader' A leader can be defined as someone who has a vision for his/her company or product. But, it takes more than a vision; it also takes ingenuity, courage, hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to take risks. A leader is also someone who is willing to surround himself/herself with other competent people and to be willing to listen to and profit from them. A leader is someone who sees problems, not merely as obstacles, but as opportunities for improvement. Byung-Chull lee, the founder of Samsung, is a person who possessed these qualities.
Former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, had a vision at a young age for the type of product he wanted to develop. In fact, he started Apple from his parent’s garage and later evolved his business into a multi-billion dollar corporation.
Byung-Chull lee didn't begin his career as an electronics manufacturer. Indeed, he began in what, seemingly, was quite a different enterprise; namely, the selling of produce. The company that would become a world leader in the design and manufacture of electronics came from very humble beginnings; long before cell phones, tablets and notebooks were even thought of.
In 1958, Samsung began expanding its market into industries such as financial, media, and shipbuilding until the 1970’s. In 1969, Samsung Electronics was established. Soon after, this electronic giant started producing televisions, radios, and computers. Samsung also began producing phones throughout the 1990s.
For foreigners who are not familiar with the Korean language, Samsung is just an awesome TV brand with surround sound, 3D glasses, and amazing graphics. But, according to the founder of Samsung Group, the meaning of the Korean hanja word Samsung (三星) is "tristar" or "three stars,” a nod to the lucky properties of the number three. The word "three" represents something "big, numerous and powerful” and the "stars" represent eternity. This is also an appropriate number, as that’s the review score many of the company’s products get.
In 2007, it exceeded the USD100 billion mark in annual sales for the first time. This makes it one of the world’s top five companies in the electronics industry.
Samsung started to rise as an international corporation in the 1990. In fact, Samsung’s construction branch was awarded a contract to build one of the two Petronas Towers in Malaysia, Taipei 101 in Taiwan and the Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates.
Years after the passing of founder Byung-Chull lee, Samsung has continued to grow and prosper in Korea and beyond. If Lee was present today, he would be amazed and proud at the technology and innovation created by his team and family. Though unsure of what the future holds for Samsung, one fact is certain in that time and again Samsung has proved its ability to look into the future, lead in technological innovations, and create what’s just around the corner for the rest of us.