( ), formerly known as , is a multinational corporation based in Kadoma, Japan. Its main business is in electronics manufacturing and it produces products under a variety of names including Panasonic and Technics.
Since its founding in 1918, it grew to become the largest Japanese
electronics producer. In addition to electronics, Panasonic offers
non-electronic products and services such as home renovation
services. Panasonic was ranked the 59th-largest company in the
world in 2007 by the Forbes Global 500 and is among the Worldwide Top 20
Semiconductor Sales Leaders
For 90 years since establishment, the name of the company was
always topped with "松下" ("Matsushita"); before the company renamed
itself on October 1, 2008, the company's name was "松下電器産業株式会社"
("Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd."), which was used since
In 1927, the company founder adopted a brand name "ナショナル"
("National") for a new lamp product, knowing "national" meant "of
or relating to a people, a nation." In 1955, the company labeled
its export audio speakers and lamps "PanaSonic
", which was
the first time it used its "Panasonic" brand name. The company
began to use a brand name "Technics" in 1965. The use of multiple
brands lasted for some decades.
In May 2003, the company put "Panasonic" as its global brand, and
set its global brand slogan, "Panasonic ideas for life." The
company began to unify its brands to "Panasonic" and, by March 2004
replaced "National" for products and outdoor signboards, except for
those in Japan.
On January 10, 2008, the company announced that it would change its
name to "Panasonic Corporation" (effective on October 1, 2008) and
unify "National" in Japan to its global brand "Panasonic" (by March
2010). The name change was approved at a shareholders' meeting on
June 26, 2008.
Panasonic was founded in 1918 by Konosuke Matsushita
first selling duplex
lamp sockets. In 1927, it produced a bicycle lamp, the first
product it marketed under the brand name National.
in Japan and other parts
through the end of World War II
, producing electrical
components and appliances such as
, and electric
After World War II, Panasonic regrouped and began to supply the
post war boom in Japan with radios and appliances, as well as
. Matsushita's brother-in-law,
as a subcontractor for components after WWII.
Sanyo grew to become a competitor to Panasonic.
The production of high-quality road and touring bicycles and
bicycle components composed a little-known but substantial portion
of the appliance division of the National/Panasonic corporation
from 1945 through the end of the 1980s. As a child, Konosuke
Matsushita, founder of National/Panasonic, had been adopted into a
family who owned a small bicycle shop, and was passionate about
bicycles and cycling.
National and Panasonic bicycles were sold both in Japan and
overseas to various retailers, who sometimes rebadged the bikes
with private labels. Despite competition from other Japanese
manufacturers, Matsushita enacted a corporate policy forbidding low
quality in Panasonic bicycles no matter what the profit margins.
was forced by economics to
outsource bicycles built overseas, they chose the Panasonic
series, a successful model in production from 1972.
As the only vendor to meet Schwinn's rigid manufacturing and
production standards, Panasonic built several models for Schwinn,
such as the World Traveller
and the World
. During the 1970s and 1980s, Panasonic produced a full
range of lugged steel frame bicycles, produced in modern factories
complete with robotic welding/brazing and advanced paint
application equipment. Panasonic's bicycle tires had higher thread
counts and thicker treads than their competition, and established a
reputation for uniformity and high quality.
From 1985 on, steady increases in the value of the Japanese
and lower cost competition from Taiwan made
Panasonic bicycles less competitive in the U.S. and other markets.
Panasonic began to sell rebadged bikes made in Taiwan under their
name. By 1989, Panasonic division managers were reporting that
bicycles brought less revenue (and less profit) per square foot of
warehouse than any other product in the corporate division.
Following the death of Konosuke Matsushita, Panasonic abandoned the
US bicycle market at the end of September, 1989.
Konosuke Matsushita traveled to
States and met with American dealers.
Panasonic began producing television
sets for the U.S. market under the
name, and expanded
the use of the brand to Europe in 1979.
The company used the National trademark outside of North America
during the 1950s through the 1970s. It sold televisions, radios,
and home appliances in some markets. The company began opening
manufacturing plants around the world. It quickly developed a
reputation for well-made reliable products.
The company debuted a hi-fidelity audio speaker in Japan in 1965
with the brand Technics
. This line of high quality stereo
components became worldwide favorites. The most famous product
still made today is the SL-1200
player, acknowledged for its high performance, precision, and
durability. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Panasonic
continued to produce high-quality specialized electronics for niche
markets, such as short-wave radios, and developed a successful line
of stereo receivers, CD players, and other components.
In November 1999, the Japan Times
reported that Panasonic planned to develop a "next generation
kit" called the Electronic
Health Checker. At the time, the target market was said to be
people, especially those living in
rural areas where medical help might not be immediately available,
so it was planned that the kit would include support for telemedicine
. The kits were then in the testing
stage, with plans for eventual overseas distribution, to include
the United States.
In recent years the company has been involved with the development
of high-density optical disc standards intended to eventually
replace the DVD
and the SD memory card.
On January 19, 2006 Panasonic announced that, starting in February,
it will stop producing analog televisions (then 30% of its total TV
business) to concentrate on digital TVs.
On November 3, 2008 Panasonic and Sanyo
in talks, resulting in the eventual acquisition of Sanyo
. The merger is to be completed by September
2009, and will result in one mega-corporation with revenues over
¥11.2 trillion (around $110 billion). As part of what will be
Japan's biggest electronics company, the Sanyo brand and most of
the employees will be retained as a subsidiary.
Brands and divisions
Panasonic produces electronic products under a variety of names,
(home appliances for the overseas market, personal electronics,
audio/video equipment, microchips, automotive components)
- National (home
appliances for the Japanese market, being phased out)
- Sanyo (buyout proposed
(music equipment like headphones and turntables, overlaps with
Panasonic branded products in some audio categories)
In many computer systems, Matsushita devices identify themselves as
"MATSHITA", to fit the limit of 8 characters imposed by Microsoft
Windows device handlers.
Panasonic manufactured a small portion of its overseas-market
phones in Denmark. Its Japan-market phones, on the other hand, have
always been Japan-made.Its Toughbook (some of which are branded
"Let's Note" in Japan) computers are known for being made in Kobe,