February 13, 2014 12:00 am JST

Built to last?

Samsung Group has grown spectacularly over the decades, outshining its Japanese rivals and others. But an air of uncertainty hangs over the conglomerate. Can Samsung Electronics, the group's flagship, move away from dependence on smartphones and into growth areas such as renewable energy, medical equipment and electric-vehicle batteries? And what of the Lee family, which maintains tight control of Samsung? Will potential successors to patriarch Lee Kun-hee put aside rivalries to ensure a smooth leadership transition? With Samsung Group generating just over 20% of South Korea's gross domestic product, the fate of the country and the conglomerate will remain intertwined.