The history of Kingston technology

How John Tu and David Sun went from one product in 1987 to become a world leader in memory products and technology solutions.

The Kingston Redhead Evolution

Kingston Redhead logo 1989

1989

Ad agency develops "improve your memory" ad that features hands installing memory into a partial head.

Kingston Redhead logo 1990

1990

First Kingston logo is developed. Using the ad for inspiration, it features a line drawing of modules going into an open head.

Kingston Redhead logo 1992

1992

An artist named Fraser is commissioned to create a simple yet powerful version of the head that also reflects technology. He creates three of four comps; the one with a single head surrounded by computer equipment is chosen for the logo.

Kingston Redhead logo 1989

2003 to present

His forehead has been modified and the computer equipment in the background removed but the Kingston Redhead, or "Rex," as he is known to his friends, hasn't changed much over the years. People everywhere recognize this icon as the symbol of the world's independent memory leader.

The History of Kingston Technology Company

1987 – Beginnings

Kingston Technology grew out of a severe shortage of surface-mount memory chips in the high-tech marketplace in the 1980s. Determined to find a solution, founders John Tu and David Sun combined their unique engineering expertise and designed a revolutionary new Single In-Line Memory Module (SIMM) that utilised readily available, older through-hole components. This meeting of minds gave birth to a new technology, a new industry standard and, on 17 October 1987, a new company.

1989

Kingston differentiates itself from its competitors with 100 per cent testing, resulting in quality assurance and a leadership position in the market.

1990

Kingston branches out into its first non-memory product line: processor upgrades.

1992

Kingston is ranked the number 1 fastest-growing privately held company in America by Inc. magazine.

1993

Kingston expands into networking and storage product lines.

1994

Kingston introduces DataTraveler®and DataPak™portable products.

Kingston achieves the rare feat of becoming ISO 9000 certified on its first assessment attempt.

Forbes magazine lists Kingston as number 367 on its list of “The 500 Largest Private Companies in the US”.

Kingston is listed with revenue of $489 million.

1995

Kingston joins the Billion-Dollar Club as the company’s 1995 sales exceed $1.3 billion.

Ads run in the Wall Street Journal, Orange County Register and LA Times with the headline “Thanks a Billion!” and a listing of all Kingston employees.

1996

On August 15, Softbank®Corporation of Japan acquires 80 per cent of Kingston for a total of $1.5 billion.

Kingston and Toshiba co-market memory upgrades for Toshiba PCs. This is the first time that a PC OEM and a memory manufacturer have teamed up to create a co-branded module.

In December, John Tu and David Sun allocate $100 million for employee bonuses as a result of the acquisition.

1997

Kingston opens its European headquarters in the United Kingdom.

1998

Kingston is ranked 2nd by Fortune Magazine in its list of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in the United States".

1999

In July, John Tu and David Sun buy back the 80 per cent of Kingston owned by Softbank for $450 million.

2000

Forbes magazine lists Kingston as number 141 on its list of “The 500 Largest Private Companies in the US”.

Kingston is listed with revenues of $1.5 billion for 1999.

2001

Kingston is honored by Industry Week as a "Top 5 Global Manufacturing Company".

2002

In January, Kingston makes Fortune’s list of the “Best Companies to Work For” for the fifth year in a row.

In July, Kingston launches a patented, industry-leading memory tester.

2003

In April, Kingston receives the “Diverse Supplier Award for Best Overall Performance”from Dell.

In June, Kingston is honored for “Excellence in Fairness”by the Great Place to Work Institute.

In October, Kingston launches its “Green Initiative” for module manufacturing.

Forbes ranks Kingston number 63 in its list of the best companies to work for, marking the fifth year in a row in the top 100.

2004

iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number-one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market.

In August, Kingston increases Flash memory cards' warranty to "lifetime".

Forbes ranks Kingston number 178 in the top private companies.

2005

iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for a second consecutive year.

Forbes lists Kingston as number 140 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the US".

In July, Kingston is granted a US patent on a dynamic burn-in tester for server memory.

In September, Kingston opens the world's largest memory module manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China.

2006

iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for a third consecutive year.

DRAMeXchange ranks Kingston as the number 1 third-party DRAM module house in the world.

In March, Kingston introduces the first fully secure, 100% privacy USB drive with 128-bit hardware-based encryption and, later in the year, 256-bit hardware encryption.

In April, Kingston launches fully-buffered DIMMs (FBDIMMs), breaking the 16GB barrier.

In September, Kingston receives Intel’s Outstanding Supplier Award for Exceptional Support, Quality and Timely Delivery of FB-DIMM Products.

Forbes lists Kingston as number 97 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the US".

2007

iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for a fourth consecutive year.

DRAMeXchange ranks Kingston as the number 1 third-party DRAM module house in the world.

Forbes lists Kingston as number 83 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the US".

Inc.com ranks Kingston as the number 1 Fastest Growing Private Company By Revenue.

2008

iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for a fifth consecutive year.

DRAMeXchange ranks Kingston as the number 1 third-party DRAM module house in the world.

Inc.com's "Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies" ranks Kingston 2nd in both Gross Dollars of Growth and Overall Revenue.

Forbes lists Kingston as number 79 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the US".

Gartner Research ranks Kingston as the number 1 USB drive manufacturer in the world.

2009

Kingston reports revenues of $4.0B for 2008. Volume increased 41% in memory units shipped from 2007.

iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for a sixth consecutive year.

Inc.com's "Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies" ranks Kingston 5th in Private Companies by Revenue.

Forbes lists Kingston as number 97 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the US", and 1st in the computer hardware category.

Gartner Research ranks Kingston as the number 1 USB manufacturer in the world.

2010

Kingston reports revenues of $4.1B for 2009, the second highest in company history.

iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market with 40.3% market share, up from 32.8% in 2008 and 27.5% in 2007.

Forbes lists Kingston as number 77 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the US".

Inc.com's "Top 100 Inc. 5000 Companies" ranks Kingston 6th in Private Companies by Revenue.

Gartner Research ranks Kingston as the number 1 USB manufacturer in the world.

2011

Kingston reports revenues of $6.5B for 2010, the highest in company history.

iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market with 46% market share in 2010, up from 40%.

Kingston launches Wi-Drive Wireless storage products.

Forbes ranks Kingston as the 51st largest private company in the US, up from 77th.

Inc. ranks Kingston 4th by revenue in the top 100 companies and 1st in the computer hardware category.

Gartner Research ranks Kingston as the number 1 USB manufacturer in the world.

2012

Kingston celebrates 25 years in the memory business.

iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for the 9th consecutive year.

Kingston Celebrates 10 years of HyperX gaming memory.

Kingston releases HyperX branded SSD drives.

Kingston releases the first Windows to Go USB drive.

Forbes lists Kingston as number 48 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the US".

Gartner Research ranks Kingston as the number 1 USB manufacturer in the world.

2013

Kingston ships its fastest, world’s largest-capacity USB 3.0 Flash Drive with DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0, available up to 1TB.

Kingston launches the MobileLite Wireless reader line of storage products for smartphones and tablets.

iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number-one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for the 10th consecutive year.

Gartner Research ranks Kingston the no. 1 USB Flash drive manufacturer in the world for the 6th straight year.

Forbes lists Kingston as number 94 on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the U.S."

2014

HyperX releases the FURY memory line for entry-level overclocking and gaming enthusiasts.

HyperX launches the maximum comfort, superior sound Cloud gaming headset.

iSuppli ranks Kingston as the world's number one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for the 11th consecutive year.

HyperX sets the overclocking world record mark at 4500MHz, the highest frequency in the world, using a 4GB HyperX DDR3 2933MHz module.

Kingston ships M.2 SATA SSDs for new notebook platforms, small-form factor devices and Z97 motherboards.

Kingston releases MobileLite Wireless G2, the second-generation media streamer for smartphones and tablets.

2015

IHS ranks Kingston as the world's number-one memory module manufacturer for the third-party memory market for the 12th consecutive year.

In January, HyperX reclaims the top DDR4 overclocking mark in the world at 4351MHz.

HyperX launches the high-performance PCIe SSD with the highest-end SSD and fastest speeds in the HyperX lineup.

HyperX releases the enhanced Cloud II gaming headset with USB sound card audio control box and virtual 7.1 Surround Sound.

HyperX creates the world’s fastest DDR4 128GB memory kit running at an astoundingly fast 3000MHz with HyperX Predator modules with ultra-tight timings.

Gartner ranks Kingston as the no. 2 aftermarket PC SSD manufacturer in the world for 2014.

Forbes lists Kingston 54th on its list of "The 500 Largest Private Companies in the U.S."

2016

Kingston acquires the USB technology and assets of Ironkey from Imation.

HyperX signs pro basketball star Gordon Hayward.

HyperX signs professional basketball player Jonas Jerebko and eSports team Detroit Renegades.

HyperX ships officially licensed headset for Xbox One.

HyperX gaming headsets surpass the one million sales mark.

Kingston releases IronKey D300, the first Kingston-made IronKey encrypted drives since the acquisition.

2017

Kingston again ships the world's largest USB Flash drive at 2TB, following a 1TB drive in 2013.

Kingston ships the world's fastest SSD delivering up to 1.25 million IOPS.

Kingston ships the second most SSDs in the channel globally.

Kingston-encrypted Flash drives win Government Security News and 'ASTORS' Homeland Security Awards.

Kingston releases Lightning USB for Apple iPhone and iPad.

Kingston celebrates 30 years in the memory industry.

HyperX wins iF DESIGN AWARD for product design in the headset category.

2018

HyperX ships 4 million headsets, making it a global leader in esports.

HyperX wins three 2018 Red Dot Awards.

HyperX wins multiple iF DESIGN AWARDS 2018.

Kingston Encrypted Flash drive named winner of two 2018 “Govies” awards.

Kingston launches first entry-level consumer-grade PCIe NVMe SSD utilising 3D NAND.

Kingston launches first 3D NAND-enabled SSD with full-disk encryption.

Esports Arena Las Vegas announces HyperX as official peripheral and arena partner.

HyperX signs Pittsburgh Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster and becomes the first gaming brand to sponsor an NFL player.

Since its inception in 2002, HyperX has shipped 60 million memory modules.

HyperX announces its first HyperX gaming microSD cards.

HyperX announces its first licensed PlayStation®4 gaming headset.

Cyber Defense Magazine honours Kingston with 6 Encrypted Security Solution awards.

DRAMeXchange ranks Kingston as the number one supplier of SSDs in the channel for all of 2017.

HyperX ships 60 million memory modules since its inception in 2002.

Post Malone joins the HyperX ambassador family as the first sponsored musician.

HyperX teams with Allied Esports to announce naming rights to HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas located at the Luxor Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

According to NPD, HyperX leads the PC gaming headset category in revenue sales for two years running.

HyperX expands relationship with Allied Sports by announcing naming rights to the HyperX Esports truck.

2019

Gartner Inc. ranks Kingston among the top 10 semiconductor chip buyers in the world.

DRAMeXchange ranks Kingston no. 1 in market share as the leading third-party supplier of DRAM modules.

HyperX sets DDR4 overclocking world record at 5902MHz.

HyperX signs professional footballer Marco Reus as HyperX ambassador.

HyperX signs Casemiro as its first Brazilian ambassador.