Hitachi Essay

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Hitachi, Ltd., a global Japanese company whose products include electronics equipment, home appliances, train cars, elevators, escalators, computers, mobile devices, power plants, and industrial machinery, originated in 1910 in the electric repair shop of Namihei Odaira. The company’s first product was three 5horsepower (hp) motors, and in 1915, it produced a 10,000-hp water turbine. It went on to manufacture electric locomotives, cells, refrigerators, and generators in the first five decades of its history.

In 1959 transistor-based electronic computers were produced and Hitachi America, Ltd., was founded. Between 1969 and 1979, Hitachi built cars and added computerized control systems for the Shinkansen (bullet trains), constructed elevators, produced transistors for color televisions, and developed Japan’s first nuclear power station. There was further expansion of the company in the last two decades of the 20th century with the establishment of Hitachi Europe, Ltd., Hitachi Asia, Ltd., and the Hitachi Foundation for Japanese American cultural, educational, and scientific cooperation.

A milestone in Hitachi’s progress was the development of the world’s fastest superconductive computer in 1989 and building computers with the world’s fastest processing speed the next year. The bullet train of Japan attained a maximum speed of 162 miles per hour due to upgrades by Hitachi in 1993. The company opened a branch in China in 1994. In 1995 Hitachi manufactured the 10 Gbit/s fiber optic transmission equipment. After three years it produced the optical data transmission system of 320 Gbit/s. A perpendicular magnetic recording system was developed in 2000.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Hitachi turned its attention toward developing Web gateways and processors for mobile phones. The world’s first liquid-cooled notebook computers were produced by Hitachi in 2002. The credit for producing the smallest contactless IC chip also went to Hitachi. It also improvised equipment that was helpful in medical diagnosis. The development of compact DNA analysis and mapping brain functions of babies was successfully performed in 2002 and 2003, respectively. In 2004 Hitachi produced the world’s smallest sensornet terminal with batteries running for about a year. In the same year, Hitachi produced lead-free solder paste. In 2005 Hitachi set up a research and development center in China. The next year, the company produced the 2.5-inch HDD on a mass scale.

With revenue of $94.998 billion and 384,444 employees, Hitachi is headquartered at 6-6; Marunouchi 1-chome, Chiyoda, Tokyo, and its present chief executive officer (CEO) and president are Etsuhiko Shoyama (1936–) and Kazuo Furukawa (1946–), respectively. Hitachi was listed on the stock exchanges of New York, Tokyo, and Osaka. The Power and Industrial Systems Information sector of Hitachi was the highest earner for the company, contributing 26 percent of the total revenue. The share of Information and Telecommunication Systems, High Functional Materials and Components, Digital Media and Consumer Products, and Electronic Equipment sectors contributed 21, 15, 13, and 11 percent, respectively. Logistics, services, and other sectors earned 10 percent of total revenue, whereas the financial service segment’s share was 4 percent.

Hitachi’s success as a global enterprise has been recognized with many awards and honors. The company received in 2007 Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards from Enterprise Asia and Investment in People Award. Hitachi was ranked number 371 of the Forbes Global 2000 list for the year 2007. Much of Hitachi’s success can be traced to research and development, which has kept Hitachi goods competitive. The company’s laboratories in Cambridge, Dublin, and Sophia are on par with similar institutions of other organizations. It has also managed its branches in different parts of the world effectively. On April 1, 2008, Hitachi established a new company called Hitachi Information and Telecommunications System Global Holding Corporation at Santa Clara, California, to supervise two Data Systems Solution holding corporations founded in Dallas, Texas (2000), and Santa Clara (1989), respectively.


  1. Benjamin Fulford, “Management, Strategies, Trends—Bowing to Jack Welch—Hitachi Looks to GE as it Works to Restructure,” Forbes (June 14, 1999);
  2. Hitachi, Ltd., (cited March 2009);
  3. Francis McInerney and Sean White, The Total Quality Corporation: How 10 Major Companies Turned Quality and Environmental Challenges to Competitive Advantage in the 1990s (Truman Talley Books, 1995);
  4. Lee Smith, “Hitachi: Gliding Nowhere?” Fortune (v.134/3, 1996);
  5. Philip Mattera, World Class Business: A Guide to the 100 Most Powerful Global Corporations (H. Holt, 1992);
  6. Lee W. McKnight et al., Creative Destruction Business Survival Strategies in the Global Internet Economy (MIT Press, 2001).

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