The Fabric Behind Samsung

Here’s a pop quiz:

Which of the following ads does NOT portray a Samsung product?


2 Hauzen 
Galaxy_SII Econo 

The answer: NONE!


In addition to our recent flagship smartphone model – Galaxy S II (lower left) – you can see one of Samsung’s first black-and-white TVs in the lower right newspaper ad and the Hauzen air conditioner in the upper right picture.

Then what about the first ad? Does Samsung have anything to do with women’s clothes? The answer is yes! Today, let us introduce to you Cheil Industries – one of the keystone Samsung companies – and some memorable moments in the company’s 57-year history.

In 1954, Cheil Industries, originally named Cheil Woolen Fabrics Industries, was founded in Korea’s fourth largest city Daegu. As Korea recovered from the aftermath of the 1950-53 Korean War and devoted its postwar efforts to rebuilding the basic industrial infrastructure, Cheil built the nation’s first carded wool factory in 1955. The company exported its first batch of carded wool of 8,000 pounds to Hong Kong in 1961, making a debut in the global woolen fabrics industry.

장미표 모사 제조 현장  
Employees at Cheil’s Daegu plant – making Korea’s 1st worsted yarn


When the industry’s growth slowed during late 1960s and 1970s, Cheil decided to broaden its business portfolio into manufacturing of assorted fibers. Renaming itself to Cheil Industries, it launched its first women’s fashion brand – La Beauté – in 1977. The brand is featured in the ad we showed you earlier.

La Beauté, targeting female customers in their early 20s, led a paradigm shift in women’s clothes in Korea then, from the once dominant tailor-made clothing to the new fad of ready-made fashion. Later in 1983, Cheil also introduced men’s wear brand – Galaxy – which has since become one of Korea’s most popular traditional suit brands – even today.


La Beauté – launched in 1977 as Korea’s 1st women’s fashion brand!


KUHO 2011 
And today – Cheil’s international brand hexabykuho
in 2011 S/S NY Collection


Men’s suit brand
Galaxy – launched in 1983 even before the Galaxy S smartphones!


Cheil underwent another transformation after the 1980s, expanding into production of chemicals and electronic materials while further developing its fashion business. It started making plastics for electronic goods and functional polymers.

In 2002, Cheil built an IT production complex in Korea, mass producing electrolytic solutions for rechargeable batteries, color filters for LCDs and CMP Slurry for semiconductors. Below you can see the list of key materials produced by Cheil and related milestones:


Cheil’s Moments of First and Best Cheil milestone 

Influential management consultant and writer Peter F. Drucker once said: “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

Cheil Industries probably fits well with the “entrepreneur” described by Drucker as it has successfully responded to numerous challenges, from the war-hit economy to the fast-changing business environment, and capitalized on new opportunities. Its evolution symbolizes Samsung’s commitment to become a truly global, multifaceted company!


Three pillars of Cheil Industries today – Fashion, Chemicals and Electronic Materials