From their beginnings as a small trading company to a behemoth that constitutes a major part of the South Korean economy, Samsung has evolved to become a world leader in businesses that span advance technology, semiconductors, skyscraper and plant construction, petrochemicals, fashion, medicine, finance, hotels and more.
In recent years, the company has diversified into consumer electronics. Samsung electronics, headquartered in South Korea, is now the flagship subsidiary of the Samsung Group, responsible for the development and manufacture of mobile phones, smartphones and tablets. It has been the world's largest information technology company by revenues since 2009. Samsung Electronics has assembly plants and sales networks in 80 countries and has about 370,000 employees.
It is the world's largest manufacturer of mobile phones and smartphones, fuelled by the popularity of its Samsung Galaxy line of devices. In fact, Samsung has been the world's largest manufacturer of mobile phones since 2012, and of smartphones since 2011 - a year in which Samsung Electronics also displaced Apple Inc. as the world's largest technology company.
The company is also a major vendor of tablet computers, particularly its Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab collection, and is generally regarded as pioneering the “phablet” market (a class of mobile device designed to combine or straddle the functions of a smartphone and tablet) through the Samsung Galaxy Note family of devices.
Far from just producing its own consumer-ready technology, Samsung has long been a major purveyor of electronic components such as lithium-ion batteries, semiconductors, chips, flash memory and hard drive devices for clients such as Apple, Sony, HTC and Nokia.
As of October 2013, the company offered 40 smartphone models on its website. All Samsung mobile phones and MP3 players introduced on the market after April 2010 are free from polyvinyl chloride and brominated flame retardants.
Samsung's flagship mobile handset line is the Samsung Galaxy S, which many critics consider a direct competitor to the Apple iPhone. It was initially launched in Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea in June 2010, followed by the United States in July of that year. Subsequently, the company's I9000 Galaxy S was the winner of the 2010 European EISA Awards in the smartphone category.
Samsung Electronics has an incredibly impressive environmental record, and is determined to continue improving its sustainability and to reduce its impact on the environment. The company is listed in Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics, which rates electronics companies on policies and practices to reduce their impact on the climate, produce greener products, and make their operations more sustainable.
The company has been taking the lead in industry efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and has consequently been praised as one of the global top-ten companies in the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index. It was the only Asian company among the top-ten companies. In addition, the company is listed in Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
The company is also augmenting its effort to recover and recycle electronic waste via the "Samsung Recycling Direct" programme.