Samsung first became a full sponsor of the Olympic Games during the Nagano Olympic Winter Games in 1998. According to the new contract, Samsung will officially sponsor the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement for the next eight years, a deal that covers the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in 2010, the London Olympic Games in 2012, the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, and the 2016 Olympic Games.

According to guidelines set forth by Samsung Chairman, Kun-Hee Lee in 1996 – “Devise strategies that can raise brand value, which is a leading intangible asset and the source of corporate competitiveness, to the global level” – Samsung decided to sponsor the Olympic Movement to strengthen its global corporate image and brand value and has been carrying out a global marketing campaign with the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement as the single theme.

Accordingly, Samsung concluded a TOP (The Olympic Partner) sponsorship contract with the IOC in 1997. Since then, the company has been an official sponsor in the wireless telecommunications equipment category, including the Nagano 1998 Olympic Winter Games, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games, and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. By sponsoring the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement for the last ten years, Samsung has made great strides towards becoming a “cutting-edge global brand” that leads the mobile phone industry. The Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 are expected to be the climax of the company’s efforts for the last ten years.

Samsung’s brand value grew more than five-fold from a mere 3.1 billion dollars in 1999 to 16.2 billion dollars in 2006, according to the annual company brand value ratings by Interbrand, the world’s largest brand consulting company. According to Strategy Analytics, a market research organisation, Samsung’s global mobile phone market share went up from 5.0 per cent in 1999 to 11.6 per cent last year, and its sales volume increased seven times from 16.65 million units to 114 million units.