Garmin Ltd. history, company profile (overview) and history video

       Garmin Ltd. is a multinational technology company with operations headquarters in Olathe, Kansas, United States, and legal domicile in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Garmin’s product lines cover the aviation, marine, automotive, wearables, outdoor, and fitness industries.

       By integrating accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer, Garmin devices are able to detect the precise direction and angle of movement, and tracks floors ascended/descended, or the types of activities taken, greatly enhancing the precision of GPS positioning.


       In 1983, Gary Burrell recruited Min H. Kao from a defense contractor Magnavox while working for the former King Radio. The pair founded Garmin in 1989 in Lenexa, Kansas, as ProNav. ProNav’s first product was a GPS unit which sold for $2,500 USD. The company later received its name Garmin, composed of the first names of its two founders. In 1991, it got the U.S. Army as the first customer.

       By 1995 Garmin’s sales had reached $105 million, and had achieved a profit of $23 million. By 1999 sales had reached $233 million and profit of $64 million. Garmin reported a 2006 total revenue of $1.77 billion, up 73 percent from $1.03 billion in 2005.

       On May 13, 1999, AirCell and Garmin International announced an alliance to develop new products that use AirCell’s unique cellular air-ground link to bring affordable flight communications, navigation and safety to general aviation aircraft.

       Burrell retired in 2003 as Garmin’s chief executive officer and in 2004 retired as chairman of its board of directors. He is now chairmanemeritus. Kao became CEO in 2003, and chairman in 2004.

       In 2005, Forbes estimated Kao’s net worth at $1.5 billion. He has donated $17.5 million to the University of Tennessee. The same year Forbes estimated Burrell’s net worth as $940 million.

    Public offering

       By 2000 Garmin had sold three million GPS devices, and was producing 50 different models. Its products were sold in 100 countries and carried by 2,500 independent distributors. As of 22 August 2000, the company held 35 patents on GPS technology. By the end of June 2000, the company employed 1,205 people: 541 in the United States, 635 in Taiwan, and 29 in the United Kingdom.

       The company began public trading on NASDAQ on 8 December 2000. At that time Burrell owned 19,911,155 shares. Kao owned 20,352,803 shares. Together their holdings accounted for 45 percent of the stock in Garmin. Kao’s brother, Ruey-Jeng Kao, an attorney in Taipei, owned another 7,984,109 shares, which when combined with Burrell’s and Kao’s shares constituted 54.22 percent of the shares outstanding.

    Worldwide companies

       Garmin operates in several other countries besides the UK, USA, and Taiwan. It operates as Formar (Belgium), Garmin AMB (Canada), Belanor (Norway), and Trepat (Spain).

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       In August 2003 Garmin completed the acquisition of UPS Aviation Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of United Parcel Service, Inc., expanding its product line of panel-mounted GPS/NAV/COMM units and integrated cockpit systems for private and commercial aircraft. The acquired company changed its name to Garmin AT, Inc. and continued operations as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Garmin International, Inc.

       Garmin has acquired Dynastream Innovations, EME Tec Sat SAS (EME), and Digital Cyclone. Dynastream, located in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, is a leader in the field of personal monitoring technology (ANT+) — such as foot pods and heart rate monitors for sports and fitness products — and is also a leading provider of ultra-low-power and low-cost wireless connectivity solutions for a wide range of applications (ANT). EME Tec Sat SAS (EME) is the distributor of Garmin’s consumer products in France; following the acquisition, EME will change its name to Garmin France SASDigital Cyclone Inc (DCI), located in Chanhassen, Minnesota, provides mobile weather solutions for consumers, pilots, and outdoor enthusiasts. Garmin also bought Nautamatic Marine Systems, an Oregon-based company that makes autopilot systems for boats. In July 2011, Garmin finished its acquisition of the German satellite navigation company Navigon. 

    Recent corporate activity

       In 2006, Garmin released all of its software for Mac OS X. Also in 2006, Garmin introduced a new corporate logo, and the opening of its first retail store on Michigan Avenuein Chicago, Illinois.

       In 2015, South Africa’s iKubu Ltd. was acquired for its Backtracker on-bicycle low power radar system.

       In 2019, the company acquired Tacx, a Dutch manufacturer of indoor bike trainers, tools and accessories, and indoor training software and applications.

       In 2021, the company acquired AeroData, a Scottsdale AZ based company that provides aircraft performance software.

     With more than 18,000 employees, Garmin Ltd. is considered one of the Largest Public Companies in the World, according to Forbes.

    *Information from,, and

    **Video published on YouTube by “Garmin



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