Nokia – started in 1865Nokia was founded by Fredrik Idestam in 1865 as a wood-pulp mill in south-western Finland. It was later relocated to the town Nokia where the company got its name. The name Nokia is an old Finnish word for a dark, furry animal (such as the sable).
In the beginning of the 20th century Finnish Rubber Works established its factories and began using Nokia as its brand. The companies merged in 1967 as Nokia Corporation, which went on to produce paper products, bicycle and car tires, footwear, personal computers, communication cables and televisions.
It wasn’t until 1987 that Nokia introduced one of the world’s first handheld phones, the Mobira Cityman 900. It "only" weighed 0.8 kg and cost €4,650.
Sony – started in 1945Sony started out as a radio repair shop in a bombed-out building in Tokyo right after World War II. The founder, Masaru Ibuka, was joined the next year by Akio Morita and together they founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K. (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation).
The company tried on various acronyms and names, like Totsuko and Tokyo Teletech before finally settling for Sony in 1955. It is a mix of the Latin word "sonus" (sound) and the English word "sonny" (little boy).
Sony built Japan’s first tape recorder (the G-Type) and also the country’s first commercially produced transistor radio.
IBM – started in 1896IBM got its start under the name Tabulating Machine Company in 1896. Even before starting the company, the founder, Herman Hollerith, had filed a series of patents regarding punched card data processing.
A merger with two other companies later changed the name of the company to Computing Tabulating Recording (CTR) Corporation. It wasn’t until 1924 that the company changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM.
The early years included a wide range of products such as employee time-keeping systems, weighing scales, automatic meat slicers and punched card equipment. During World War II IBM also produced weapons and its punch-card machines were used for calculations in the development of the first atomic bombs.
Samsung – started in 1938Samsung was founded by Lee Byung-chul in 1938 as Samsung Store, a trading company in Daegu, (South) Korea, selling fish, vegetables and fruit to China. During the Communist invasion in 1950 his inventories were damaged and he was forced to leave and start over again in 1951, this time in Seoul.
In 1953 Lee opened a sugar refinery and founded his philosophy of making Samsung the leader in each industry he entered. Samsung later moved into several different businesses fields, providing things like insurances, department stores, radio and television stations, engineering and electronics.
Samsung even started a daily newspaper back in 1965. It is currently one of the three largest in Korea, although no longer affiliated with Samsung.
Nintendo – started in 1889Nintendo was founded in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi in Kyoto. He started out with producing handmade Hanafuda cards, which is a type of playing cards. The name Nintendo supposedly means "Leave luck to Heaven" when translated from Japanese to English.
Before becoming a video game company Nintendo tried several niche businesses, setting up a love hotel chain, a taxi company, a TV network and a food company for selling instant rice.
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