Panasonic, formerly known as , is a Japanese multinational electronics corporation headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka, Japan.
The company was founded in 1918 as a producer of lightbulb sockets and has grown to become one of the largest Japanese electronics producers alongside Sony, Hitachi, Toshiba, Pioneer and Canon Inc. In addition to electronics, it offers non-electronic products and services such as home renovation services. Panasonic was 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.
NameFrom 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.
20th centuryPanasonic was founded in 1918 by Kōnosuke Matsushita as a vendor of duplex lamp sockets. In the 1920s Matsushita began regularly launching products. In 1927, he produced a line of bicycle lamps that were the first to be marketed with the National brand name. 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, Matsushita traveled to the United States and met 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 North America from the 1950s to the 1970s (the trademark could not be used in the United States because it was already in use). The inability to use the National brand name led to the creation of the Panasonic brand in the United States. Over the next several decades Panasonic released additional products, including black and white TV's (1952), electrical blenders, fridges (1953), rice cookers (1959), color TV's and microwave ovens (1966).
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, and developed its successful line of stereo receivers, CD players and other components.
In 1968, Panasonic began to make rotary compressors for air conditioners, and in 1971, it began to make Absorption chillers, also for air conditioning applications.
In 1972, Panasonic established its first overseas factory, in Malaysia.
In 1973, Matsushita established "Anam National", joint venture with Anam Group in South Korea.
In 1983, Matsushita launched the Panasonic Senior Partner, the first fully IBM PC compatible Japanese-made computer, and it also released inverter air conditioners. In November 1990, Matsushita agreed to acquire an American media company MCA Inc. for US$6.59 billion. The acquisition was preceded by the takeover of Columbia Pictures by Sony, the arch rival of Matsushita. At the time, Matsushita had dominated the home video market with the company's leading position in the electronics market. The market position of the company was strengthened by VHS, the defacto standard of Videotape Matsushita and JVC co-introduced. Inspired by Sony's bold quest for Hollywood, Matsushita was convinced that the company could become a leader in the film industry as they had been already in the home video market. However Matsushita subsequently sold 80% of MCA to Seagram Company for US$7 billion in April 1995, demoralized by the high volatility of the film industry.
In 1998, Matsushita sold Anam National to Anam Electronics.
2000 to presentOn 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 2005, Matsushita Toshiba Picture Display Co. Ltd. (a joint venture between Panasonic and Toshiba created in 2002) stopped production of CRTs at its factory in Horseheads, New York. A year later, in 2006, it stopped production at its Malaysian factory, following heavy losses.
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.
In 2008, all models of electric shavers from the Panasonic factory were called Panasonic shavers, and they dropped Matsushita and National from their name, regardless of worldwide or Japanese markets.
In late 2006 Matsushita (Panasonic) began talks with Kenwood Corporation to sell and spin off JVC. As of October 1, 2008 JVC and Kenwood merged to create the JVCKenwood Corporation.
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 April 2012, Panasonic spun off Sanyo DI Solutions, a digital camera OEM.
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 was 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 2014, Panasonic Healthcare was bought by outside investors. Panasonic Healthcare was later renamed as PHCHD, which stands for Panasonic HealthCare HD.
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.
In June 2015, Panasonic struck agreements with three Australian energy utilities (Red Energy, Ergon Energy and ActewAGL) to trial its home-based battery storage options.
In November 2015, the Panasonic Corporation announced that it set up a new plant in Suzhou, China, through its subsidiary, Panasonic Ecology Systems Co., Ltd, to produce a new type of catalyst-coated diesel particulate filter (DPF) that decomposes matter contained in diesel engine exhaust gas.
In November 2015, Panasonic Corporation start to retail locally harvested produce from its indoor agriculture facility salads via Veggie Life branding in Singapore, from the very first licensed indoor vegetable farm in the country using Panasonic's own technology.
In February 2016, Panasonic and the City of Denver formed a formal partnership to make Denver the "smartest" city in America. Joseph M. Taylor, Chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corp. of America, laid out the plans for the partnership in four key areas: smart housing and small offices, energy and utilities, transportation and city services and smart buildings.
Due to increased competition from China, Panasonic's Li-ion automotive market share decreased from 47% in 2014 to 34% in 2015. In June 2016, Tesla Motors, Inc. announced that Panasonic Corporation would be the exclusive supplier of batteries for its mass market vehicle Model 3. Batteries for the higher-end Model S sedan and Model X SUV will also be supplied by Panasonic. In early 2016 Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga confirmed a planned total investment of about $1.6 billion by the company to construct the Gigafactory to full capacity. However, after the number of Model 3 reservations became known in April, Panasonic moved production plans forward and announced a bond sale for $3.86 billion, most of it to be invested in Gigafactory.
In 2016, it debuted its transparent TV.
In August 2018, the company announced, in order to avoid potential tax issues Panasonic will move its European headquarters from the UK to Amsterdam in October as Brexit approaches.On 25 September 2018, Panasonic became one of the founding members of the L-Mount Alliance, and announced two full-frame mirrorless cameras and a range of L-Mount lenses to be launched in 2019. The 47-megapixel Panasonic Lumix S1R and the 24-megapixel Panasonic Lumix S1 will be the first full-frame mirrorless cameras produced by Panasonic and will offer the Lumix Pro support service for professional photographers. These cameras will also be equipped with Dual Image Stabilization technology to help photographers when shooting in low-light.
In 2019, Panasonic sold its image sensor and security systems (security camera) businesses.
In 2020, Panasonic exited the vending machine business, as it failed to achieve profitability, lagging behind rivals Fuji Electric, Sanden and Glory.
Current operationsAs of March 31, 2012, Panasonic employed about 330,000 staff and had around 580 subsidiary companies. Panasonic had total revenues of in 2012, of which 53 percent were generated in Japan, 25 percent in Asia (excluding Japan), 12 percent in the Americas and 10 percent in Europe.
Panasonic's operations are organised into three broad "business fields" – Consumer, Solutions and Components & Devices – and nine "domain companies" – AVC Networks (which generated 17% of Panasonic's total 2012 revenues), Eco Solutions (15% of revenues), Appliances (15% of revenues), Industrial Devices (14% of revenues), Systems and Communications (8% of revenues), Automotive Systems (7% of revenues), Energy (6% of revenues), Healthcare and Manufacturing Solutions.
Panasonic invested a total of in research and development in 2012, equivalent to 6.6 percent of its revenues in that year. As of March 31, 2012, Panasonic held a total of 140,146 patents worldwide. Panasonic was the world's top patent applicant for three decades, from the 1980s to the 2000s.
In July 2016, it was reported that Panasonic is now looking at making acquisitions in the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning space. According to a source, the company has put aside $10 million for use in either an acquisition or joint venture.
Panasonic Automotive SystemsPanasonic Automotive Systems is an original equipment manufacturer of factory installed mobile audio equipment such as headunits, speakers and navigation modules. It is a subcontractor to most major auto manufacturers, supplying virtually every Japanese and American automaker, along with many European automakers. In 2015, PAS had a revenue of $12.4 billion. Panasonic also purchased the assets of the Sanyo Corporation in 2017
Panasonic also formerly manufactured aftermarket vehicle audio products such as head units and speakers.
Panasonic Avionics Corporation
Panasonic Avionics Corporation (PAC), a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, is a 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 3,300 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.
In February 2017, Panasonic reported that the subsidiary was being investigated by American authorities under the FCPA.
Panasonic Mobile CommunicationsPanasonic Mobile Communications manufactures mobile phone handsets and related equipment. As of 2012, it had around a 20 per cent share of the Japanese handset market. Panasonic used to market mobile phone handsets worldwide, but in December 2005 announced its withdrawal from overseas markets due to poor sales. Panasonic returned to the overseas market in 2012, with the release of the Panasonic Eluga Android-powered smartphone. In July 2013, Panasonic announced the company will not supply a new model of smartphone to NTT DoCoMo Inc., because NTT DoCoMo will focus with Sony and Samsung products. In Q2 2013, Panasonic Mobile Communications booked a 5.4 billion yen operating loss. From July 2013 to January 2018 Panasonic India has released one more series of Android Smartphones Panasonic P Series, along with Eluga Series.
Panasonic Corporation of North AmericaPanasonic Corporation of North America is Panasonic's principal subsidiary in the United States. It has been headquartered in Newark, New Jersey since 2013, after being previously headquartered in Secaucus, since the 1980s; both Newark and Secaucus are located within New Jersey's Gateway Region.
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 EuropePanasonic's principal subsidiaries in Europe are Panasonic Europe Ltd. and Panasonic Marketing Europe GmbH. Panasonic Europe is headquartered in London, England, but it is moving its headquarters to Amsterdam, Netherlands due to Brexit. Panasonic employs around 12,000 people in Europe, and the region generates around 10 per cent of its total revenues. In 2012, Panasonic had around a 10 per cent share of the consumer electronics market in Europe, ranking third behind Samsung Electronics (with 26 per cent) and LG Electronics (with 12 per cent).
Panasonic operates a chain of stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland called "Panasonic Store" which exclusively sell Panasonic products. Prior to 2008 the chain was named "shop@Panasonic".
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.
In May 2015, Panasonic launched its virtual solar service to UK consumers. The service allows users to run a simulation to provide an estimate of how much a rooftop solar installation would produce if it were installed in their home.
Panasonic IndiaMr. Daizo Ito serves as Group President for Panasonic Regional Headquarters India (situated in Haryana) at Panasonic India Pvt. Ltd. Panasonic India makes washing machines, refrigerators, electric rice cookers, electric irons, mixer-grinders/blenders and other home appliances for the Indian market.
Anchor Electricals Pvt. Ltd., an Indian company which makes electric lamps, switches, sockets and other electrical accessories, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation.
Panasonic Corporation in IndonesiaPT Panasonic Gobel Indonesia (formerly known as PT National Gobel and PT National Panasonic Gobel) is the name of the company's Indonesia division based in Cawang, East Jakarta. Seigo Saifu is the current President Director and Rachmat Gobel is the current President Commissioner. Gobel is also the President Commissioner of Indosat. Panasonic Gobel Indonesia is a joint venture between Panasonic Corporation Japan and the Gobel Group of Indonesia.
MCA and Universal Studios
Matsushita bought American media company MCA Inc. for US$6.6 billion. In 1995, it sold 80% of MCA's shares to Canadian drinks company Seagram. MCA was renamed Universal Studios in 1996, and its music division was renamed Universal Music Group.
Universal Studios is now a unit of NBCUniversal, which is now owned by Philadelphia-based Comcast. Universal Music Group is now owned by French media conglomerate Vivendi.
Panasonic 3DOPanasonic used to manufacture 3DO gaming systems alongside GoldStar and Sanyo but stopped 3 years later, as it was not a success. There were a total of 2 million systems sold from 1993 to 1996, though it is not known how many of these were sold by each manufacturer. Panasonic obtained exclusive rights to manufacture the 3DO's successor console, the M2, but ultimately backed out of releasing it due to the highly competitive state of the console gaming market at the time.
ProductsPanasonic offers a wide range of products and services, including air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, compressors, lighting, televisions, personal computers, mobile phones, audio equipment, cameras, broadcasting equipment, projectors, automotive electronics, aircraft in-flight entertainment systems, semiconductors, lithium batteries, electrical components, optical devices, bicycles, electronic materials and photovoltaic modules. Ventilation appliances such as electric fans are manufactured under KDK and rebranded as Panasonic.
Brand namesPanasonic Corporation sells virtually all of its products and services worldwide under the Panasonic brand, having phased out the Sanyo brand in the first quarter of 2012. The company has sold products under a number of other brand names during its history.
In 1927, the company founder adopted the brand name for a new lamp product. In 1955, the company began branding audio speakers and lamps for markets outside Japan as "PanaSonic", which was the first time it used the "Panasonic" brand name. The company began to use the brand name " in 1965 for audio equipment. The use of multiple brands lasted for some decades.
In May 2003, the company announced that "Panasonic" would become its global brand, and launched the global tagline "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. 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. In September 2013, the company announced a revision of the decade-old tagline to better illustrate the company vision: "A Better Life, A Better World."
Rasonic is a brand name of Shun Hing Electric Works and Engineering Co. Ltd (信興電工工程有限公司), 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. (松下信興機電(香港)有限公司) and Panasonic SH Industrial Sales (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. (松下電器機電(深圳)有限公司) were established by joint venture between Matsushita Electric Industrial and Shun Hing Group respectively, making Rasonic a product brand for MEI and subsequent Panasonic Corporation.
In September 2014, Panasonic announced they will revive the Technics brand.
FootballPanasonic sponsors the German footballer Marco Reus, who plays for Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund and Germany.
Panasonic owns Gamba Osaka, a club from the J. League, the main Japanese Professional Football League.
Panasonic is an official partner and sponsor of AFC Champions League and Major League Soccer.
Between 1981 and 1983, Panasonic was the shirt sponsor of English football club Nottingham Forest F.C.
On January 16, 2010, Panasonic signed a three-year, 47 million (£518.5K ) jersey sponsorship deal for the India national football team.
OtherPanasonic was 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 was also a sponsor in NASCAR's Busch Series in 2005, sponsoring the No. 67 Smith Brothers Racing Dodge for Ken Schrader, Bryan Reffner, C.W. Smith, and Johnny Benson, Jr.. In 2007, Panasonic became a technology partner with Hendrick Motorsports, and will serve as a primary sponsor of the team's No. 24 car with Jeff Gordon for two races in 2014 and through 2015 .
Panasonic has been a top level sponsor of the Olympic Games since the Seoul Olympics 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.
On September 8, 2016, Panasonic was unveiled as the title sponsor for the new Jaguar Formula E team.
On February 14, 2017, Panasonic was unveiled as the main sponsor of Lega Basket Serie A, the highest professional basketball league in Italy and one of the top ranked national domestic league in Europe.
Environmental recordPanasonic is ranked in joint 11th place (out of 16) 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. 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.In 2014, an article in The Guardian reported that Panasonic will compensate its expatriate workers in China a "hazard pay" as compensation for the chronic air pollution they are subjected to as they work.