Panasonic History

The philosophy of putting a company’s customers and employees needs first and acting as “a good corporate citizen” was almost revolutionary in the early years of the 20th Century, when Konosuke Matsushita began the extraordinarily successful venture now known around the world as Panasonic.

Mr. Matsushita’s ideas were advanced and far-reaching, from his technological beginnings with the invention of the two-socket light bulb in 1918 to his enlightened views on how a company should behave to its customers, employees, shareholders and the community in which it operated.

From inventing and selling the two-pronged light bulb from his own house with three employees, Matsushita’s enterprise grew to the global success story it is today: the most successful electronics company in the world, with 290,000 employees and $51.7 billion in net sales.

Company timeline

Konosuke Matsushita, an Industrialists aged 23, invents the two-socket light bulb. He begins manufacturing and selling it from his house in Osaka, Japan, with the help of three employees.

Matsushita invents and manufactures a new lamp for use on bicycles, the predominant form of transport in Japan and many countries around the world.

Prototype three-tube radio set developed and wins first prize in competition sponsored by Japan’s public broadcasting station. The radio was designed to meet Matsushita’s concept of a quality set that ordinary electrical retailers could service themselves.

Matsushita launches the first television set. By now, his company is manufacturing 600 different products, and sales extend outside Japan for the first time. Employees now number 3,500.

The company became the first large-scale radio manufacturer in Japan.

The beginning of the ‘home appliance era’ saw sales and finance companies established, and the construction of the Central Research Laboratory.

Quality control strengthened and expanded through a nation-wide network of service companies and a Product Inspection System.

Establishment of the five day working week. By the end of the 1960s, the total number of employees rises to more than 28,000 and the comp any’s profits reach 1.5billion yen.

Rapid growth of the Japanese economy sees the increase in consumer demand for air conditioners, colour TVs, washing machines microwaves, cassette recorders and VCRs.

The consumer movement gathered strength nationally and internationally, and Panasonic set up consumer relations offices across Japan. With a focus on the consumer, products were developed in response to their desires and demands, and householders were involved in testing new products before mass production commenced.

VHS-standard VCR marketed with long recording times and bright, clear images. U.S company RCA entered into an agreement with Panasonic for the supply of VHS Video equipment, followed by General Electric.

An historic joint venture with the People’s Republic of China was undertaken to produce picture tubes for colour TVs.

The death of company founder, Konosuke Matsushita.

Panasonic takes the lead in the global movement for corporate environmental responsibility with its “Environmental Charter”, adhered to by all groups within the company.

Information and Communications Centre opens

Corporate restructuring under its new President, Yoichi Morishita, with a vision of “creativity and daring”.

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