SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Yonhap) — Samsung Electronics Co., the flagship of the country’s largest conglomerate, saw its market capitalization soar 500 times during the 27-year reign of late group chief Lee Kun-hee, data showed Sunday, as the company transformed from a small home-appliance maker to a global tech firm.

When he took the top position of Samsung Group in November 1987, shares in Samsung Electronics stood at around 12,000 won (US$10.60), with its market cap at some 400 billion won, behind the country’s top industrial heavyweights, including the steelmaker now known as POSCO, according to data from Samsung Electronics and Korea Exchange.

The tech company’s annual sales that year reached 2.3 trillion won, while net profit stood at 34.5 billion won.

By the time Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee stepped down from management following a heart attack in May 2014, the company’s market cap reached 196.6 trillion won, while its stock price stood at 1.33 million won.

The company’s stock price has since continued to climb, and it split its stock 50 to 1 in 2018 to enhance shareholder value. The tech giant’s stock price closed at 60,200 won on Friday, and its market cap reached 360 trillion won.

The company’s total sales in 2014 reached 206.2 trillion won, 87 times the figure in 1987, with net income growing 678 times to 23.4 trillion won over the same period.

Samsung Electronics’ rise to become one of the world’s top tech giants was propelled by the late chairman’s move to enter the semiconductor business.

   In 1988, Lee merged Samsung Semiconductor & Telecommunications Co. with Samsung Electronics to boost focus in the sector, which bore fruition when the company developed the world’s first 64M dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chip in 1992. The company became the top global memory chip maker the following year.

   Samsung Electronics’ presence in the global memory chip market led its stock price to eventually reach 100,000 won per share in 1995.

   Lee also focused on mobile phones, snatching the largest market share in the country that year.

   The company’s booming memory chip and mobile phone business eventually led its market cap to become the largest in the country in 1999 and its stock price to reach over 500,000 won in 2004.

While Apple Inc.’s launch of the iPhone in 2007 threatened Samsung Electronics’ presence in the global phone market, the South Korea company responded by launching its own smartphone Galaxy S in 2010.

The move led Samsung Electronics’ stock price to rise to 1 million won in January 2011.

The company then surpassed Apple to take first place in global smartphone market share in the third quarter of 2011, with the release of its Galaxy S2.

The late chairman inherited the Samsung crown in 1987 at the age of 45 when his father Lee Byung-chull, founder of the present day Samsung Group, died.