| Logo for the Panasonic brand
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Japanese: 松下電器産業株式会社, Matsushita Denki Sangyō Kabushiki Gaisha) (MEI) is an electronics manufacturer based in Kadoma, Osaka prefecture, Japan.
It was founded by Konosuke Matsushita in 1918, with its first product being a duplex electrical outlet. In 1927, it produced a bicycle lamp, the first product it marketed under the brand name National. Since then, it has become the largest Japanese electronics producer and competes mainly with Sony, Thomson and Philips. In addition to electronics Matsushita offers non-electronic products and services such as home renovation services. Its name in Japanese means Under Pine Tree Electric.
Brands and divisions
Matsushita produces electronic products under a variety of names, including:
- Panasonic (home appliances for the overseas market, personal electronics, audio/video equipment, microchips, automotive components)
- National (home appliances for the Japanese market)
- Nais (components for automated systems -replaced by Panasonic in 2004)
- Quasar (televisions and video equipment- being phased out)
- Technics (audio equipment)
Matsushita is also the controlling stockholder of the Japan Victor Company (JVC), which it purchased in 1953.
Matsushita was founded in 1918 and operated factories in Japan and Asia through the end of World War II, producing electrical components and appliances such as light fixtures, motors, and electric irons.
After WWII, Matsushita regrouped and began to supply the post war boom in Japan with radios and appliances. Matsushita's brother-in-law, Toshio Iue founded Sanyo as a subcontractor for components after WWII. Sanyo grew to become a competitor to Matsushita.
In 1951, Konosuke Matsushita traveled to the United States and met with American dealers. Matsushita began producing cheap television sets for the U.S. market under the Panasonic brand name, and signed a cooperative venture with Philips the following year in order to incorporate more advanced Western technologies into its products.
The company used the National trademark outside of North America during the 1950s through the 1970s to much success. 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-fi speaker 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 record player used by radio stations and disc jockeys alike, known for its high performance and durability.
During the 1970s, Matsushita expanded further in the U.S. market, purchasing Quasar from Motorola in 1986 and purchasing MCA-Universal in 1989. The company became a major target of anti-Japanese sentiment among workers in the United States. However, the Japanese stock market crash of 1989–1990 caused Matsushita's international power to wane: the company sold many of its foreign assets in the 1990s, including Universal (to Edgar Bronfman, Jr. of Seagram's).
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.
Beginning in the fall of 2004, Matsushita is slowly beginning to use the Panasonic brand as its primary name. Note that the matsushita.co.jp website now redirects to panasonic.co.jp.
- [Panasonic (http://panasonic.co.jp/global/)] Global Home. Matsushita.co.jp redirects there.