Recognizing our responsibilities as industrialists, we will devote ourselves to the progress and development of society and the well-being of people through our business activities, thereby enhancing the quality of life throughout the world.
1935: Konosuke Matsushita's company incorporates as Matsushita Denki Sangyo.
1953: The company begins selling washing machines, televisions, and refrigerators in Japan.
1954: A 50 percent share of JVC is acquired.
1974: The Quasar television division of Motorola is purchased.
1989: Founder Konosuke dies.
1990: MCA Inc. is acquired in a $6.1 billion deal.
1995: The company sells an 80 percent interest in MCA.
2000: Kunio Nakamura is named president and launches a major restructuring effort.
The Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is one of the largest consumer electronics firms in the world. Although the company's name is virtually unknown outside of Japan, the brand names under which Matsushita sells its products are household words. Panasonic, Technics, Quasar, and JVC are all manufactured by Matsushita. The company operates four main business segments: AVC Networks, Home Appliances, Industrial Equipment, and Components and Devices. Its product line ranges from color televisions and DVDs to washing machines, industrial robots, and semiconductors. In Japan, Matsushita is as well known as its brand names. The company's founder, Konosuke Matsushita, is hailed as the patriarch of the Japanese consumer electronics industry.
Konosuke Matsushita was born in 1895, the son of a modest farmer who lost his family's savings speculating on commodity futures when Matsushita was only nine years old. At that age, Matsushita was forced to take a job in a bicycle shop to help his family survive. When he heard some years later that the city of Osaka had installed an electric railway system, Matsushita realized that great opportunities lay ahead for the Japanese electronics industry. He spent a few years working for a light bulb factory in Osaka, and by age 23 had accumulated enough business experience to found his own company to manufacture electric plugs, with his wife and brother-in-law Toshio Iue (who later founded Sanyo Electric).
Although Japan became a major international power during the 1920s, its domestic economy developed unevenly. Matsushita's small company prospered by keeping prices low and by incorporating new technological advances into its products. For this, Matsushita became very popular with consumers. He was also popular with his workers, whom he regarded as important partners with a right to participate in decisions.
After diversifying production to include bicycle lights and electric heaters, Matsushita moved boldly to secure a position as a direct supplier to Japan's large, complex retailing networks, which were historically dominated by larger, more established companies. Matsushita introduced radio sets and dry batteries in 1931 and electric motors in 1934; by creating fierce competition through discounts, the company was able to build large market shares in these selected markets. By 1935 the company had grown to several times its original size. On December 15 of that year, it was incorporated as Matsushita Denki Sangyo (Electrical Industrial).