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Who's the world's largest tech firm?

Not who you think

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The world's biggest technology company, by revenue, is now Samsung, which has just replaced HP at the top of the pile.

For 2009 Samsung brought in revenue of $117.8bn, beating HP which made $114.6bn for the year ended 31 October. It is on track to beat the ink giant in 2010 too - predicting sales of $127bn versus $120bn at HP.

Profits are slightly harder to come by at the firm, although it did return to the black in the fourth quarter. It made an operating profit of 3.7trn Korean won (£1.97bn) on sales of 39.24trn won (£20.9bn). Profit for the year was 10.92trn won (£5.82bn).

Part of the reason for this is the scale and width of the business which makes mobile phones, computers, networking kit, TVs, monitors, chips, memory, fridges and air con units. This means in many areas it is selling to itself.

The company started life in 1969 and was seen for years as a maker of cheap knock-offs of rivals' products. Not until the 90s, following a company-wide reinvention, did it start to gain brand recognition.

It has not all been plain sailing. In 2008 chairman Lee Kun-Hee was fined $89.2m for a dodgy bond issue which was designed to hand control of the firm to his son.

Samsung expects to sell 35 million LCD TVs this year, ten million LED TVs and two million 3D TVs.

Hat tip to the FT for doing the maths. ®

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