Many of you would know Samsung as the World’s largest manufacturer of consumer electronics and semiconductors, the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones and smartphones, and a trendsetter in the electronics industry. However, not many would know that it started as a trading company back in 1938 and just like every successful company, Samsung’s secret of success also relates strongly with its founder, Lee Byung Chul. Lee Byung Chul is often regarded as the father of modern industrial South Korea. He started Samsung from a small import-export operation and transformed it into one of the World’s 50 largest corporations. Lee Byung Chul not only started Samsung but also found different ways to grow it and always tried to be one step ahead of its competitors. He has turned out to be the trendsetter for his following generations. We have gone through Lee’s life journey and have figured out 10 interesting facts about him which you probably won’t know. Let’s have a look at them.
Over the years, rapid industrialization and digitalization have changed the business world drastically. The definitions of business are also changing with time. Newer startup ideas and business strategies are fuelling the extensive growth of the business across the world. However, the person who is responsible for the growth of business and the company is the leader himself. The leader is the one who sets goals for the company and decides the path to achieve them. His inclination towards new ideas and flexibility in decision making sets the tone for a company’s growth.
Lee Byung Chul: Son of a Wealthy Family
Lee Byung Chul was born in Uiryeong county in South Korea, on 12’th February 1910. He was the only son of his family and his family was financially quite well off as they ran a landowning business. Unlike the most success stories, his story had a less financial struggle. Yet, he went on to become one of the most successful businessmen around the world.
Didn’t Finish his Graduation
After completing his schooling, Lee Byung Chul attended college at Waseda University, Tokyo. But he failed to complete his degree.
Started Samsung in 1938 as a Trading Company
Many of you wouldn’t know that Samsung, which right now is a technology giant, started in 1938 as a trading company. In March 1938, Lee Byung Chul started a trucking business naming it as Samsung Trading Co. The company transported goods throughout Korea and other countries until the start of the Korean War in 1950.
Commenced Textile Business After the Korean War
After the Korean War, the country needed to redevelop itself. Lee decided to expand his business into textiles and opened the largest woollen mill in Korea. He aimed at the goal of redevelopment and focused heavily on industrialization. The Korean Government adopted new protectionist policies during this period which benefitted his business.
Served as the Chairman of Federation of Korean Industries
The Samsung Group Chairman Lee Byung Chul established the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) in August 1961. FKI helps to promote sound economic policies and to internationalize the economies to further enhance the free-market economic system and development. Later, he also served as the Chairman of the FKI. For every employee that walked into the office, Lee was a noble leader.
Richest Man in Korea For a Time
Due to the success, Lee achieved with Samsung Trading Co. and its further expansions, his net worth saw a considerable hike within no time. Furthermore, he topped the list of richest men in Korea for a time.
Had a Large Family
He had a large family that followed his footsteps to take Samsung where it is today. Lee had 2 wives along with 4 sons and 6 daughters. Lee Kun-hee, one of his sons further went on to become the second President of Samsung and had a huge role in the success of Samsung Electronics.
Second Richest Family in Asia by 2017
Although being split into 4 independent entities such as Samsung, CJ, Shinsagae, and Hansol, Lee’s family ranked second in the Forbes list of Asia’s richest families by 2017. The net worth of the family was $40.8 billion.
Died Due to Lung Cancer
Leaving behind a legacy for generations to follow, Lee Byung Chul, the pioneer of Samsung died on 19th November 1987 due to Lung cancer. His age at the time of his death was 77 years.
Has one of the Most Impressive Art Collections in all of Korea
Lee Byung Chul’s estate Ho-Am, located a short distance from Everland Park which is South Korea’s most popular amusement park, was opened for public tours after his death. His collection of Korean arts features a number of art objects that have been designated ‘National Treasures’ by the Korean Government and is considered one of the largest private collections in the country.
These were the 10 interesting facts about Lee Byung Chul that also showed glimpses of his life story. Lee is an inspiration for all aspiring businessmen and entrepreneurs around the world. He will always reminisce as one of the greatest entrepreneurs.
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