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Panasonic

, formerly known as , is a Japanese multinational electronics corporation headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka, Japan.[1] Its main business is in electronics manufacturing.

Panasonic was founded in 1918 by Konosuke Matsushita as a vendor of duplex lamp sockets.[2] It has grown to become one of the largest Japanese electronics producers, alongside Sony, Toshiba and Canon. In addition to electronics, Panasonic offers non-electronic products and services such as home renovation services. Panasonic was ranked the 89th-largest company in the world in 2009 by the Forbes Global 2000 and is one of the world's 20 largest semiconductor vendors.[3]

Contents


Name

From 1935 to October 1, 2008 the company name was "Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd."[4][5]

On January 10, 2008, the company announced that it would change its name to "Panasonic Corporation", with effect from October 1, 2008 to conform with its global brand name "Panasonic".[6] The name change was approved at a shareholders' meeting on June 26, 2008 after consultation with the Matsushita family.[7]

History

1918 to 2000

A statue of Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic
A statue of Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic
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. It operated factories in Japan and other parts of Asia through the end of World War II, producing electrical components and appliances such as light fixtures, motors, and electric irons.

After World War II, Panasonic regrouped 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 WWII. Sanyo grew to become a competitor to Panasonic, but the rivalry settled down and Sanyo eventually became a subsidiary of 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.[8]

The company used the National trademark outside of North America during the 1950s through the 1970s. (The trademark could not be used in the USA, probably because it was already in use by the National Radio Company who were operating in a closely related product area.) It sold televisions, hi-fidelity stereo receivers, multi-band shortwave radios, and marine radio direction finders, often exported to North America under various U.S. brand names. 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 1983 the Panasonic Senior Partner IBM PC compatible computer featured a built-in printer and became the first Japanese-made computer to offer full IBM compatibility.[9]

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

The Panasonic world headquarters in Osaka, Japan Since 2004, Toyota has used Panasonic batteries for its Toyota Prius, a Japanese developed car.

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.[10]

With the announcement that Pioneer would exit the production of its Kuro plasma HDTV displays, Panasonic purchased many of the patents and has incorporated these technologies into its latest Viera plasma displays. Panasonic remains the only HDTV manufacturer to concentrate solely on plasmas for its large (40-inch or higher) HDTVs, while many rivals have moved onto LCD and LED technologies.[11]

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.

In April 2011 it was announced that Panasonic will cut its work force by 40,000 mainly from overseas division by the end of fiscal 2012 in a bid to streamline overlapping operations. The curtailment is about 10 percent of its group work force.[12]

In October 2011 Panasonic announced that it will trim its money-losing TV business as it will cease production of Plasma TVs at its plant in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture by March 2012, cutting 1000 jobs in the process.[13]

In January 2012, Panasonic announced that it had struck a deal with Myspace on its new venture, Myspace TV. [14] 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. [15]

After Sony Corp., Panasonic Corporation share is also decline to the lowest level in 34 years to 543 yen, the lowest in intraday trading since January 1978 to follow forecasting full-year profit that lagged behind analyst estimates.[16]

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.[17]

On 29 May 2012, its reported that Panasonic is contemplating fresh layoffs after recording a record net loss in the year just ended.[18]

Operations

The Panasonic IMP Building in Osaka, Japan

Panasonic Automotive Systems

Panasonic sells audio products for cars and light trucks under the Panasonic brand (aftermarket) and as OEM equipment in automobile brands including Toyota, Honda and Subaru and those of General Motors and Volkswagen.

Panasonic Avionics Corporation

Panasonic Avionics Corporation[19] (PAC), a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, is the world's leading supplier of in-flight entertainment (IFE) and communication systems. Headquartered in Lake Forest, California where engineering, development and testing is performed while system installation, field engineering, major quality functions, certification and program management are performed at the Bothell, Washington facility - Panasonic Avionics Corporation employs approximately 2,800 employees based in over 70 locations worldwide, with major facilities in London, Toulouse, Hamburg, Dallas, Dubai and Singapore. A majority of the component manufacturing is carried out in Osaka, Japan.

The company provides airline passengers with a wide array of interactive applications at their seats, combining entertainment (digital music and movies on demand, games, interactive moving maps, satellite TV, and online shopping) with business tools (E-mail, live flight schedules, and in-flight internet access). PAC is also one of the chief suppliers to both Boeing and Airbus and their IFE systems will be featured on both the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A380 aircraft. Among the many worldwide customers that use PAC systems are award-winning airlines such as Qantas, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

Panasonic Mobile Communications

Panasonic Mobile Communications manufactures mobile handsets and related equipment for the Japanese market. It has the second largest market share for mobile phones in Japan after Sharp. It used to market its GSM phones worldwide, but in December 2005 the company announced its withdrawal from overseas markets. In summer 2008 rumors emerged that the company was considering to re-enter the Asian market with its VS84 handset.

Sanyo Electric

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).[20]

Panasonic Corporation of North America

Panasonic Corporation of North America is the name of the company's USA division, headquartered in Secaucus, New Jersey.[21] Founded in New York City at the MetLife Building in September 1959, it was known as Matsushita Electric Corporation of America (MECA) prior to 2005.

Panasonic Corporation in Europe

Shop@Panasonic is a chain of stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland which sells only Panasonic electronics. The store is based on the same structure as Sony Centre. The stores are usually located in shopping centres such as Centrale, and brand itself the official Panasonic retailer. Since 2008 shop@Panasonic stores officially rebranded to "Panasonic Store".

In November 2010, Panasonic Electric Works established Panasonic Electric Works Vossloh-Schwabe Serbia d.o.o, a new company in Svilajnac, Serbia, to manufacture energy-efficient electronic devices (ballasts) for lighting fixtures. Volume production commenced in January 2011.[22]

Universal Studios

Panasonic used to own Universal Studios, then known as the Music Corporation of America, since acquiring the company in 1990 but sold it to Seagram in 1995. Universal Studios is now a unit of NBC Universal.

Brand names

Panasonic's current and historic brands

Panasonic produces electronic products under the Panasonic and Sanyo brands. The Sanyo brand is being phased out.

In 1927, the company founder adopted a brand name for a new lamp product, knowing "national" meant "of or relating to a people, a nation."[23] In 1955, the company labeled its export audio speakers and lamps "PanaSonic", which was the first time it used the "Panasonic" brand name.[24] The company began to use a brand name "Technics" in 1965.[24] The use of multiple brands lasted for some decades.[24]

In May 2003, the company announced "Panasonic" as its global brand, and set its global brand slogan, "Panasonic ideas for life."[25] 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.[25] In January 2008, the company announced that it would phase out the brand "National" in Japan, replacing it with the global brand "Panasonic" by March 2010.[6]

Rasonic is a brand name of Shun Hing Electric Works and Engineering Co. Ltd ( ), a company that has imported Panasonic and National branded product since Matsushita Electric Industrial era, and has also sold MEI/Panasonic products under the original brand names. In June 1994, Panasonic Shun Hing Industrial Devices Sales (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd. ( ( ) ) and Panasonic SH Industrial Sales (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. ( ( ) ) were established by joint venture between Matsushita Electric Industrial and Shun Hing Group respectively,[26][27] making Rasonic a product brand for MEI and subsequent Panasonic Corporation.

Sponsorships

Panasonic were the principal sponsors of the now defunct Toyota Racing Formula One team.

Panasonic were a primary sponsor of Toyota's Formula One program, Panasonic Toyota Racing. Hiro Matsushita, grandson of the company founder, is a former race car driver who ran a company overseeing sponsorship arrangements for the company.

Panasonic is an official partner and sponsor of Major League Soccer.

Panasonic has sponsored some professional filmmakers by allowing them to borrow the Camera for their projects. One such Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 model camera was used to film the pilot of the Swedish horror film Marianne.[28]

Panasonic owns Gamba Osaka, a team from the J. League, the main Japanese soccer league.

Panasonic sponsored Sterling Marlin in the Nextel Cup Series. Panasonic was to sponsor the 14 in 24 races but the team shut down in July.

Panasonic is the primary sponsor of the 2007 World Solar Challenge.[29]

Panasonic has been a "top" sponsor of the Olympic Games since Seoul in 1988.

Panasonic was the official partner and sponsor of the Boston Celtics from 1975 to 1989, along with Technics. Various Panasonic ads appeared at the old Boston Garden during the 1980s.

Between 1981 and 1983 Panasonic were the shirt sponsors of English football club Nottingham Forest F.C. On January 16, 2010, Panasonic signed a three-year, Rs. 4.7 crores (US$1 million) jersey sponsorship deal for the India national football team.

Environmental record

Panasonic is ranked in joint 9th place (out of 15) in Greenpeace s Guide to Greener Electronics, which ranks electronics manufacturers on policies and practices to reduce their impact on the climate, produce greener products, and make their operations more sustainable.[30] The company is one of the top scorers on the Products criteria, praised for its good product life cycles and the number of products which are free from polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC). It also scores maximum points for the energy efficiency of its products with 100 percent of its TVs meeting the latest Energy Star standards and exceeding the standby power requirement.

However, Panasonic's score is let down by its low score on the Energy criteria, with the Guide stating it must focus on planned reductions of greenhouse gases (GHG), set targets to reduce GHG emissions by at least 30% by 2015 and increase renewable energy use by 2020.[30]

See also

References

Further reading

External links

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