Hitachi, Ltd. (HIT), a Tokyo-based global conglomerate, has a highly diversified product mix ranging from consumer electronic products to power plants and electronic devices. Hitachi's emphasis on research and development (R&D) and its application of a wide range of advanced technologies for this purpose, makes it one of the world s largest manufacturers of electronic products. The company operates through seven industry segments. These segments include Power & Industrial Systems (25.6% of 2006 revenue), Information & Telecommunications Systems (21.0%), High Functional Materials & Components (15.2%), Digital Media & Consumer Products (12.8%), Logistics, Electronic Devices (10.9%), Services, & Others (10.3%), and Financial Services (4.2%).
Hitachi operates on a global scale with more than one-third of its business conducted overseas, as indicated by its sources of revenue for fiscal year 2006, ended March 2007. The company generated 59.5% from Japan, 18.1% from Asia, 10.3% from North America, 8.5% from Europe, and 3.6% from other areas. Employing more than 356,000 people worldwide, Hitachi distributes its products in Japan (primarily through its own sales network) and uses overseas sales subsidiaries, joint-venture companies, and unaffiliated distributors for international marketing. Hitachi currently has 920 consolidated subsidiaries and 165 equity-method affiliates. The company's total assets as of March 31, 2007 were $90,259.1 million, compared to $85,221.5 as on March 31, 2006.
Hitachi faces several challenges such as globalization of some of its markets, commoditization of some of its products, stagnation in some industries, fluctuation in exchange rates, and an interest rate hike in China, where Hitachi is expanding its business. To combat the pressure, the company is closing or downsizing unprofitable operations where feasible, seeking joint ventures with competitors, reallocating employees from overstaffed businesses to growth businesses, reorganizing the geographical allocation of its manufacturing facilities, and emphasizing the development of cutting-edge technology. Despite its recent progress and a promising future, Hitachi will have to resolve these key issues before the shares become more attractive.