Samsung Company: Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Abstract

Entrepreneurship and innovation are the two important aspects that every company has to embrace in order to survive the contemporary high competition in the market place. For a company to gain competitive advantage against its competitors, it has to come up with creative and innovative ways of improving the quality of its products. Companies all over the world are working hard towards acquiring a considerable portion of both the local and international markets.

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Through proper leadership research on a given product, a company may gain the relevant information that may be used to help in improving the products’ quality. This essay explores the innovations that the Samsung Group has so far achieved. It seeks to identify the major innovations that have seen the company survive the great competition from large companies that were established long before Samsung opened its doors. In the recent past, Samsung has gained popularity and reputation, which have helped it in achieving huge sales volumes coupled with offering employment to many people in South Korea and other places worldwide. This paper will thus give an analysis on the innovations that have seen this company flourish and attain a higher competitive advantage over its competitors.

Introduction

Samsung Group is an electronic manufacturing company situated in South Korea (Coe & Lee, 2013). The company has numerous branches all over the world and it is among the largest business conglomerates. The company was founded by Byung-chul in 1930s and it was registered as a public limited company. At the beginning, the company engaged in food processing business and later ventured into the textile and insurance businesses.

In the 1960s, the company entered the world of electronics where it flourished and up to date, it solely deals with electronics. The company stood out as one big company for decades until 1986 when its first CEO and founder passed on and it was split into four different sub-companies with each opting to conduct its own business separately. Samsung derives most of its income from the sale of cell phones and other electronic devices that people all over the world have embraced. Samsung has a notable influence on the economy of South Korea and it has greatly boosted the county’s national income.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Since the company started gaining momentum in the electronics business in early 1970s, it has been focusing on creativity and innovation (Kovack, 2013). The leaders of the company have adopted a leadership style that allows innovation and creativity coupled with providing room for employees to contribute towards the decision-making process of the company, which has greatly influenced the quality of its products. Samsung claimed a spot in the world of innovation in the 1990s when it introduced its first memory chip to the market.

During this time, technology was low and the chips did not favor the company significantly. However, the company continued producing the product until 2008 when it managed to produce the first flashes. These flashes were quick to pick in the market as they were unique and light and they could store more information than the memory chips. In 2011, the company had managed to acquire a 35% market share in the world market (Coe & Lee, 2013). In 2005, the company engaged in the business of foundry. The foundry business saw the company start producing semiconductors, which are slowly gaining fame.

Samsung started shining when it introduced the first homemade telephone in Korea in 1987 (Coe & Lee, 2013). Before then, foreign companies dominated the mobile phone market in Korea, but with the Samsung’s innovative cell phone, the local market turned to the locally produced mobile phones since they were less expensive as compared to the imported ones. Additionally, the Korean government supported the move by Samsung electronics to produce and supply locally produced mobile phones by imposing high taxes on imported cell phones, thus making them expensive and less attractive to customers in the country (Morphy, 2013).

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This move was a major boost for the young company and in less than a year, the company introduced a more advanced type of phone, SC-100. The company took advantage of the Olympic Games held in Korea in 1988 to introduce yet another type of phone- the SH-100. The company’s market for the phone rose in 1990s when it managed to control 48% of the domestic market. The phone penetrated the international market in the 20th century where it gained the customers’ acceptance due to its unique features. The phone had a unique screen color and camera other distinguishing features. In 2003, the company dominated the international market and it ranked as the third largest phone producing company in the world (Morphy, 2013). In 2008, the company was ranked the second largest phone producing company.

The company improved its technology further in the 20th century when it changed the then cathode ray tubes technology that was prevalent in the market to come up with 3D flat screen TV (Coe & Lee, 2013). The flat panel television sets have seen the company acquire even greater market share across the world. Since the year 2006 when the technology was introduced in the market, the company has had the best sales of TV sets. The flat screen TV sets are light and portable and they are more eye-catching as compared to the traditional TV sets.

Through this technology, the company recorded the highest sales of the 3D television sets and gained competitive advantage against all other TV producers. The same technology saw the birth of the 3D home theatre that had special features that allow viewers to watch 3D images.

The company did not stop at this point. In 2008, Samsung developed Internet TV that allowed viewers to enjoy their favorite TV programs through their computers (Kovack, 2013). This major innovation was highly welcomed by the media all over the country. Viewers could now access TV programs from the comfort of their offices through their computers. The new developed TV allowed users to access YouTube movies and other free appliances in addition to the ordinary TV programs and while the company reduced the bulkiness of the television sets, it maintained full operation of the devices. The technology came at a time when the cost of energy was going up and it provided a solution to this problem as the newly developed panels reduced energy consumption by close to 20%.

In 2001, the company developed the lithium battery, which ranked it as the world’s most innovative company (Coe & Lee, 2013). The technology succeeded in the display market and replaced it within a very short duration. The technology also earned the company the title of the founder of new and improved energy sector in its home country, viz. Korea. According to a report released by the company’s directors in 2005, this fast growth in technology was as a result of numerous researches combined with hard work of its leaders and the adoption of proper leadership style that empowers its employees to make decisions in their respective areas of work. The report also indicated that plans were underway to expand the lithium ion technology further to produce electric vehicles.

Samsung is credited for being the first company across world to implement sustainability management, which is a component of management enterprise (Coe & Lee, 2013). The company’s vision is to become a leading enterprise in the supply of electronics worldwide. The Samsungs’ products have won the trust of many people in the world with the quality and efficiency of the products being unquestionable. The company focuses not only on the satisfaction of its customers, but also on the satisfaction of its employees. The other major innovation that has seen the company flourish is the invention of the display market. The market came at a time when South Korea was facing resource crisis. At the time, Korea had poor infrastructure and limited resources to support the ever-growing need for money to effect development projects.

In the year 2007, Samsung released the Samsung galaxy s4 that had superior features to many cell phones of the same class produced by their rivals. The phone saw the company make $12 million in sales of the product and it became the fast selling phone in the world at the time. The mobile phone was more preferred by customers to the one produced by Apple since it had unique features lacking in other Smartphone devices. The Samsung Smartphone had a strong camera that produced better and clearer photos than that offered by Apple.

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By the end of 2013, news of the company producing new galaxy s5 cell phone had filled the air with reliable sources claiming that the company may be releasing the aforementioned type of cell phone in the year 2014. The launch date is set as April 11, 2014, which is a clear indicator of the company’s determination to becoming the leading supplier of electronic appliances in the world. The phone will have completely different features from the existing type and is expected to lead to even higher competition among the phone producing companies. On of the distinguishing features is the reset lock to counter theft.

The phone will have improved features such as high-speed cameras and stronger hardware capacity. The camera is expected to possess automatic optical controller that would automatically rectify angle errors and improve sharpness. The company has also indicated that the “new Galaxy S5 will be both water and dust proof” (Fowler, 2014, par.8).

Samsung also earned an unusual reputation when it introduced the Smartphone (Coe & Lee, 2013). The Smartphone had distinct features that reduced the importance of buttons in mobile phones. The phone replaced the large number of buttons in many ordinary phones with a glass like screen operated by the use of a sharp object. Its camera was outstandingly different from that of the existing mobile phones with the camera taking the best ever images at the time. The hardware also was more improved as the phone was lighter and easily portable as compared to the huge cell phones in the market.

The company integrated both hardware and software innovation to come up with the Smartphone, which outsmarted most of the phones in the market. During this period, the company achieved huge sales and it was ranked among the top ten best performing companies in the world. As the cell phone was being introduced in the market, the company’s president emphasized the commitment of the company to come up with even more surprising offers to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction. The Smartphone surprisingly conquered the Chinese market despite China having giant companies producing similar types of phones. This fast penetration to the worldwide market demonstrates the high level of innovation and entrepreneurship that the company exercises.

Samsung is the only company that survived competition from Apple, which is an American company in South Korea specializing in the production of mobile phones. Other companies such as Nokia and Blackberry suffered a major blow from the production of superior mobile phones by Apple. This aspect is an indicator of the entrepreneurial superiority of Samsung as it only suffered a bit before emerging even stronger. The leaders of the company can thus be said to possess the qualities of good entrepreneurs since they managed to save the company from falling. A good entrepreneur identifies an opportunity, acquires the necessary resources, and exploits the opportunity. The Samsung leaders did the same thing. They identified a gap in the Apple’s line of production, studied their weaknesses, and came up with superior type of mobile devices.

The galaxy smart watch is yet another important innovation worth mentioning. Although Samsung was accused of borrowing too much from the Apple, it surmounted the accusations when it produced the galaxy smart watch. The watch was released just days before the Apple launched the much-anticipated iwatch (Kovack, 2013). This was in an effort to beat the apple, which had posed a great threat on the future of Samsung. The smart watch was of high quality, had unique features, and a battery life of more than 12 hours. This battery life was described as the highest among watches of the same nature. Although this smart watch did not receive much support, as was the case for the Smartphone, it was innovative in its nature. Both the Smartphone and the smart watch are examples of innovation that involves putting smart technology in small portable devices.

Conclusion

Samsung forms part of the most creative and innovative companies of the 21st century. Its work of innovation spans over forty years, and in that period, the company has risen to be an electronics giant across the world. The introduction of the Smartphone was one of the cornerstones of its innovation, and with the Galaxy S5 set for launching in 11 April 2014; the company is fronting itself as an innovation hub across the world. This upward trend is a product of numerous researches combined with hard work of its leaders and the adoption of proper leadership style that empowers its employees to make decisions in their respective areas of work. The company is currently entangled in an innovation war with its main competitor, viz. Apple, which is just but a show of how Samsung longs for innovation.

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References

Coe, M., & Lee, S. (2013). We’ve learnt how to be local: the deepening territorial embeddedness of Samsung–Tesco in South Korea. Journal of Economic Geography, 13(2), 327-356. Web.

Fowler, G. (2014). Samsung Galaxy S5 Review: Watertight yet Still Not Quite Right. The Wall Street Journal. Web.

Kovack, S. (2013). How Samsung is out-innovating Apple. Web.

Morphy, E. (2013). 4 Reasons Samsung Should Lose The Innovation Inferiority Complex. Web.

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