When Samsung sneezes, South Korea gets a cold


South Korea and Samsung are almost synonyms; South Korea is nicknamed the Republic of Samsung by youthful Koreans. Samsung wields huge influence on South Korea’s economy and is into electronics, insurance, construction and many more things.

Samsung is massive; bagged in $305 billion revenue in 2014 and $22.1 billion in net income. Its asset portfolio stood at USS$ 529 billion. All I am trying to say is that I would spoil this story with too many zeros if told of Samsung’s wealth in Kwacha.

Founded by Lee Byung-chull, Samsung was created in the image of Indian business philosophy; succession flows in the family blood.


For many people, Samsung is all about Smartphones, LCD screens and computers. It is much more than that. Samsung electronics is surely the hen that lays the eggs of the Samsung Empire, but it is not the only child.

Samsung C&T Corporation is into construction, trading, fashion and resort. And there is Samsung Heavy Industries which ventures into heavy equipment, ship building, wind power and engineering infrastructure.

Samsung SDS makes money in consulting services, customised application integration, hardware and software implementation and Data centre services. Samsung Life insurance is the largest insurance company in South Korea. The vessels and cargo in South Korea are mostly covered by Samsung Fire and Marine insurance.


Cheil Worldwide is another of Samsung’s baby; and is into advertising, public relations, shopper marketing, sports and digital marketing.

And there are 60 companies that are affiliated to Samsung, and together account for 33.3 percent of the stock market capitalisation of South Korea.

Samsung Electronics is the global largest smartphone manufacturer. In the second quarter of 2013 Samsung controlled 35 percent of the global smartphone market and Apple had only 12.5 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2016 the figure plummeted to 18 percent while Apple’s rose to be at par with Samsung’s.

Jay Lee, the successor apparent of Samsung’s kingdom is a very unlucky 48-year-old chap. Since taking over the reins of power in 2014 after his father was hit by stroke, the man has not been so lucky. Emerging from the Galaxy 7 fiasco, the man is in custody for bribing the presidency.

Jay is alleged to have paid $36 billion to a charity run by Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of the first female South Korean president Park Glum-hye in return for government backing of a merger of two Samsung’s affiliates in 2015.

South Koreans felt short changed and went into the streets to protest against Samsung’s inhumane control of South Korea’s economic activities. The people won and the president was impeach but now awaits final verdict of the country’s constitution court.

The moral of this story is that sometimes circumstances conspire and wages war on other people’s leadership ambitions no matter how big the zeal. I rest my case.

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