Lee Kun-hee, who had transformed Samsung Group into a tech giants from a small trading firm, died on Sunday in Seoul at age 78. He had been bedridden since May 2014 following a heart attack.
Lee officially inherited the Samsung crown in 1987 at the age of 45 when his father died.
The group was then only known as a maker of cheap televisions and microwaves sold in discount stores. Lee pushed the company relentlessly up the technological ladder, says the New York Times.
By the early 1990s, Samsung had surpassed Japanese and American rivals to become a pacesetter in memory chips.
It came to dominate flat-panel displays as screens lost their bulk. And it conquered the middle-to-high end of the mobile market as cell phones became powerhouse computing devices in the 2000s, adds the NYT.
The most famous line from Lee’s philosophy is, "Change everything but your wife and children."
Samsung stands at the centre of the South Korean economy, with its outbound shipments accounting for over 20 percent of Asia's fourth-largest economy's exports.