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Panasonic Corporation, formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., is a Japanese multinational electronics corporation headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka, Japan.
The company was founded in 1918, and has grown to become one of the largest Japanese electronics producers alongside Sony, Hitachi, Toshiba and Canon Inc. In addition to electronics, it offers non-electronic products and services such as home renovation services. Panasonic is the world's fourth-largest television manufacturer by 2012 market share.
Panasonic has a primary listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the Nikkei 225 and TOPIX indices. It has a secondary listing on the Nagoya Stock Exchange.
From 1935 to October 1, 2008, the company name was "Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd." On January 10, 2008, the company announced that it would change its name to "Panasonic Corporation", in effect on October 1, 2008, to conform with its global brand name "Panasonic". The name change was approved at a shareholders' meeting on June 26, 2008 after consultation with the Matsushita family.
1918 to 2000
Panasonic was founded in 1918 by Konosuke Matsushita as a vendor of duplex lamp sockets. In 1927, it began producing bicycle lamps, the first product which it marketed under the brand name National.
During World War II the company operated factories in Japan and other parts of Asia which produced electrical components and appliances such as light fixtures, motors, electric irons, wireless equipment, and its first vacuum tubes.
After the war, Panasonic regrouped as a Keiretsu and began to supply the post war boom in Japan with radios and appliances, as well as bicycles. Matsushita's brother-in-law, Toshio Iue, founded Sanyo as a subcontractor for components after World War II. Sanyo grew to become a competitor to Panasonic, but was later acquired by Panasonic in December 2009.
In 1961, Konosuke Matsushita traveled to the United States and met with American dealers. The company began producing television sets for the U.S. market under the Panasonic brand name, and expanded the use of the brand to Europe in 1979.
The company used the National brand outside of North America from the 1950s to the 1970s (the trademark could not be used in the United States because it was already in use by the National Radio Company in a closely related product area). It sold televisions, VHS VCRs, high fidelity stereo receivers, multi-band shortwave radios, and marine radio direction finders, often exported to North America under various U.S. brand names, such as Technics, Emerson, Curtis Mathes and of course Panasonic. The company also developed a line of home appliances such as rice cookers for the Japanese and Asian markets. Rapid growth resulted in the company opening manufacturing plants around the world.
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 products being its turntables, such as the SL-1200 record player, known 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 shortwave radios, as well as developing a successful line of stereo receivers, CD players, and other components.
In 1973, Matsushita formed a joint venture with Anam Group, Anam National.
In 1983, Matsushita launched the Panasonic Senior Partner, the first fully IBM PC compatible Japanese-made computer.
In November 1990, Matsushita agreed to acquire the American media company MCA Inc. for US$6.59 billion. Matsushita subsequently sold 80% of MCA to Seagram Company for US$7 billion in April 1995.
In 1998, Matsushita sold Anam National to Anam Electronics.
In November 1999, the Japan Times reported that Panasonic planned to develop a "next generation first aid kit" called the Electronic Health Checker. At the time, the target market was said to be elderly 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.
2000 to present
A 152-inch Panasonic plasma display on show at IFA 2010.On May 2, 2002, Panasonic Canada marked its 35th anniversary in that country by giving $5-million to help build a "music city" on Toronto's waterfront.
On January 19, 2006, Panasonic announced that it would stop producing analog televisions (then 30% of its total TV business) from the next month, in order to concentrate on digital televisions.
On November 3, 2008, Panasonic and Sanyo announced that they were holding merger talks, which eventually resulted in the acquisition of Sanyo by Panasonic. The merger was completed in December 2009, and resulted in a corporation with revenues of over ¥11.2 trillion (around $110 billion).
With the announcement that Pioneer would exit the production of its Kuro plasma HDTV displays, Panasonic purchased many of the patents and incorporated these technologies into its own plasma displays.
In April 2011, it was announced that Panasonic would cut its work force by 40,000 by the end of fiscal 2012 in a bid to streamline overlapping operations. The curtailment is about 10 percent of its group work force.
In October 2011, Panasonic announced that it would trim its money-losing TV business by ceasing production of Plasma TVs at its plant in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture by March 2012, cutting 1,000 jobs in the process.
In January 2012, Panasonic announced that it had struck a deal with Myspace on its new venture, Myspace TV. Myspace TV will allow users to watch live television while chatting with other users on a laptop, tablet or the television itself. With the partnership, Myspace TV will be integrated into Panasonic Viera televisions.
On May 11, 2012, Panasonic announced plans to acquire a 76.2% stake in FirePro Systems, an India-based company in infrastructure protection and security solutions such as fire alarm, fire suppression, video surveillance and building management.
In line with company prediction of a net loss of 765 billion yen, on November 5, 2012, the shares fell to the lowest level since February 1975 to 388 yen. In 2012, the shares plunged 41 percent. On November 14, 2012, Panasonic said it will cut 10,000 jobs and make further divestments.
On May 18, 2013, Panasonic announced that it would invest $40 million in building a factory in Binh Duong, Vietnam which is expected to be completed in 2014.
In July 2013, Panasonic agreed to acquire a 13% stake in the Slovenian household appliance manufacturer Gorenje for around €10 million.
In a press release following its announcement at IFA 2013, Panasonic announced that it had acquired the "Cameramanager video surveillance service" with the intention of expanding its reach to cloud-based solutions.
In July 2014, it was announced that Panasonic has reached a basic agreement with Tesla Motors to participate in the Gigafactory, the huge battery plant that the American electric vehicle manufacturer plans to build in the U.S. In August 2014, Tesla said the plant would be built in the Southwest or Western United States by 2020. The $5 billion plant would employ 6,500 people, and reduce Tesla's battery costs by 30 percent. The company said it was looking at potential sites in Nevada, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California.
In October 2014, Panasonic announced its initial investment in Tesla Motors’ battery factory would amount to "tens of billions" of yen, according to the firm’s CEO.
In November 2014, Panasonic announced its partnership with Photon Interactive to create customized and personalized digital signs in stores.
In January 2015, Panasonic announced it has stopped making TVs in China and plans to liquidate its joint venture in Shandong.
In March 2015, Panasonic announced plans to buy Houston-based satellite communication service provider ITC Global.
In April 2015, Panasonic announced its new range of products and relaunched its brand in South Africa. The company intends to use South Africa as a springboard into Africa, with Nigeria and Egypt as its initial targets.
Headphones Panasonic RP-HV21GU-A DECOR
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