Samsung was originally founded as a 40-employee trading company in 1938. It dealt in groceries produced in and around the city and produced its own noodles.
1938 to 1970
In 1938, Lee Byung-chull (1910–1987) of a large landowning family in the Uiryeong county came to the nearby Daegu city and founded Samsung Sanghoe (삼성상회, 三星商會), a small trading company with forty employees located in Su-dong (now Ingyo-dong). It dealt in groceries produced in and around the city and produced its own noodles. The company prospered and Lee moved its head office to Seoul in 1947. When the Korean War broke out, however, he was forced to leave Seoul and started a sugar refinery in Busan named Cheil Jedang. After the war, in 1954, Lee founded Cheil Mojik and built the plant in Chimsan-dong, Daegu. It was the largest woollen mill ever in the country and the company took on the aspect of a major company.
Samsung diversified into many areas and Lee sought to help establish Samsung as an industry leader in a wide range of enterprises, moving into businesses such as insurance, securities, and retail. Lee placed great importance on industrialization, and focused his economic development strategy on a handful of large domestic conglomerates, protecting them from competition and assisting them financially.
In 1948, Cho Hong-jai (the Hyosung group’s founder) jointly invested in a new company called Samsung Mulsan Gongsa (삼성물산공사), or the Samsung Trading Corporation, with the Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-chull. The trading firm grew to become the present-day Samsung C&T Corporation. But after some years Cho and Lee separated due to differences in management between them. He wanted to get up to a 30% group share. After settlement, Samsung Group was separated into Samsung Group and Hyosung Group, Hankook Tire, and others.
In the late 1960s, Samsung Group entered into the electronics industry. It formed several electronics-related divisions, such as Samsung Electronics Devices Co., Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co., Samsung Corning Co., and Samsung Semiconductor & Telecommunications Co., and made the facility in Suwon. Its first product was a black-and-white television set.