Samsung’s transition — from most ridiculed phone maker to the biggest

Kim Ki-nam, vice chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics Co.’s device solutions, speaks during the company’s annual general meeting in Suwon on March 18, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 23 March 2020

Samsung’s transition — from most ridiculed phone maker to the biggest

  • Samsung is a larger smartphone manufacturer than Apple, and at the same time a key supplier to its great rival
  • It's overall turnover is equivalent to a fifth of S. Korea's GDP, Geoffrey Cain says in his book "Samsung Rising"

SEOUL: Military-style management and an unquestioning reverence for the founding Lee family have fueled Samsung’s transition from the world’s most ridiculed phonemaker to its biggest, says the author of a new book.

Today Samsung — by far South Korea’s most powerful conglomerate with more than 50 affiliates from electronics and insurance to hotels and apartments — is a larger smartphone manufacturer than Apple, and at the same time a key supplier to its great rival.

The group’s overall turnover is equivalent to a fifth of the GDP of the world’s 12th-largest economy, where citizens sometimes refer to their country as the “Republic of Samsung.”

It is a remarkable transformation from only a few years ago when Western consumers mocked it for its unreliable products.

At first fascinated by the firm, author Geoffrey Cain said: “As I got deeper, I felt like I was going down the rabbit hole.”

Its rise was tainted with corruption, he writes in “Samsung Rising,” a rare English-language detailing of the highly secretive and opaque empire, published last week in the US.

HIGHLIGHT

Samsung founder Founder Lee Byung-chul saw Samsung as more than a business, identified with the war-ravaged nation itself, and it played a key part in South Korea’s rise to become Asia’s fourth-biggest economy.

Cain interviewed around 400 people, including current and former Samsung employees, executives and politicians, he said, but many refused to be named or go on the record.

Founder Lee Byung-chul started Samsung — the name means “Three Stars” — as a vegetable and dried fish shop in 1938 and after the Korean War expanded into sugar, finance, chemicals, electronics and more.

Lee saw Samsung as more than a business, identified with the war-ravaged nation itself, and it played a key part in South Korea’s rise to become Asia’s fourth-biggest economy.

He forged close relations with military dictator Park Chung-hee, and married off his sons to daughters of governors and ministers, sealing enduring connections with political power.

Cain zeroes in on the firm’s long-running relationship with Apple, which began when a youthful Steve Jobs met Lee Byung-chul in 1983 as he sought parts to build a tablet computer — 27 years before releasing the iPad.


Dubai launches economic program for post COVID-19 recovery 

Updated 05 August 2020

Dubai launches economic program for post COVID-19 recovery 

  • “The Great Economic Reset Programme” is part of a “COVID Exit initiative” to help the recovery and reshaping of the economy
  • The economic program will feature analyses of current and future policies

DUBAI: Dubai launched an economic program as part of its efforts to reshape the emirate’s economy for a “sustainable” and “resilient” future post the coronavirus pandemic, the government said. 
The Dubai government partnered with the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) to launch “The Great Economic Reset Programme” as part of a “COVID Exit initiative” to help the recovery and reshaping of the economy, state news agency WAM reported on Tuesday. 
The economic program will feature analyses of current and future policies, research and extensive stakeholder consultation to set the direction and tone of future economic policies, regulations and initiatives.
The government plans to use local and international experts for economies and societies to create growth strategies for the Dubai economy.
The MBRSG held a “Virtual Policy Council,” with global experts and thought leaders to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy and potential policy responses and initiatives. 
Chief economists, senior practitioners and researchers from leading global institutions including the World Bank, joined experts from Dubai Economy and the MBRSG at the first roundtable.
“I believe the triple helix collaboration between public, private and academia stakeholders have always produced the best solutions in the past. In the highly uncertain environment now, extensive collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders are vital to our future prosperity. The Virtual Policy Council will propose the best approaches Dubai and the UAE can adopt to address the risks and opportunities in the next normal economy,” said Mohammed Shael Al-Saadi, CEO of the Corporate Strategic Affairs sector in Dubai Economy.
“This Virtual Policy Council is a key component of the whole process where global experts and thinkers share their views on the future economy. In this new era, the role of governments in enabling the new economic actors is becoming increasingly central, and Dubai is well-positioned to lead the way with innovative models of growth post COVID19,” said Professor Raed Awamleh, Dean of MBRSG.
The roundtable also discussed the impact of the pandemic on international trade, foreign investment and tourism, as well as the rise of digital globalization.