Based in Osaka, Japan, Panasonic Corporation (formerly Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.) is one of the world's leading manufacturers of electronic and electrical products, systems, and components for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial uses. Panasonic emphasizes the use of sophisticated electronics, precision, and leading-edge technology to develop its products. Over the past seven decades, the company has grown from a small domestic household electrical equipment manufacturer into a comprehensive manufacturer with global operations. Sales and marketing are handled mainly through its sales subsidiaries and affiliates located in respective countries or regions in coordination with business domain companies. In some countries, sales are handled through independent agents or distributors, and certain products are sold on an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) basis and marketed under the brands of the third parties. The company also sells directly to large-scale consumers, such as the Government and corporations. The company has products that are also marketed worldwide under region-specific brands, such as "National", mainly for home appliances sold in Japan, and "Technics" for certain hi-fi products. Also, some of Panasonic's subsidiaries use their own brand names, such as "Quasar," "Victor," "JVC," and "PanaHome." In Japan, products are sold through several channels, each established according to the type of products or customers. On October 1, 2008, the company changed its named from Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co, Ltd to Panasonic Corporation to unify its corporate brands to the Panasonic' brand across the world.
Panasonic's business segments are organized into six categories Digital AVC Networks (46% of fiscal 2010 sales), Home Appliances (15.4%), PEW and PanaHome (22%), Components and Devices (13.5%), SANYO (5.5%), and Other (13.6%). AVC Networks products include video and audio equipment (TVs, VCRs, camcorders, digital still cameras [DSCs], DVD players and recorders, and other personal and home audio equipment) and information and communication equipment (personal computers [PCs], PC displays, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, and other optical disk drives, hard disk drives [HDDs], copying machines and printers, facsimile equipment, cordless telephones, cellular phones, other mobile communications equipment, car audio, and navigation equipment). Effective April 1, 2007, the healthcare equipment business shifted to AVC Networks from Home Appliances. Home Appliances products include refrigerators, room air conditioners, washing machines, clothes dryers, vacuum cleaners, electric irons, microwave ovens, cooking appliances, dishwasher/dryers, and household equipment (e.g., kitchen fixture systems). PEW and PanaHome includes housing/building-related products, personal-care products, devices and plastic materials, healthy-life products, exterior and interior furnishing materials, bathroom units, molding compounds, laminates, relays, connectors, housings, etc. Components and Devices include semiconductors, general components, display devices, batteries, and electric motors. SANYO includes SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. (SANYO) and its subsidiaries, which manufacture and sell products in energy (solar cells and rechargeable batteries), ecology (commercial equipment, home appliances and car electronics), and electronics (electronic devices and digital system devices) to support the energy and ecology fields. The Other category includes factory automation equipment, industrial robots, welding machines, and other industrial equipment. Geographically, Panasonic derives revenue from Japan (54% in fiscal 2010), North and South America (12%), Europe (11%), and Asia and others (23%).
Sales for fiscal year 2010 amounted to ¥7.4 trillion, a 4% decrease from the previous year, due to decline in sales in all business segments. In the Digital AVC Networks segment, favorable sales of flat-panel TVs and automotive electronics and Blu-ray Disc recorders were offset by decline of notebook PCs and mobile phones. In the home appliances segment, strong sales of refrigerators were offset by decrease in sales of air conditioners and compressors. In the PEW and PanaHome segment, lower sales in electrical construction materials and building materials, along with ongoing sluggishness in the Japanese housing market conditions led to sales decrease. In the Components and Devices segment, batteries and semiconductors decreased in sales.
With over half of its revenue deriving from Japan, Panasonic is highly dependent on Japan's economic condition. Weakness in the Japanese economy may adversely affect its operating results and financial condition, while a strong economy results in increased consumption and higher sales.
The company must spend significant resources on research and development to keep up with rapidly advancing technology and shifting consumer demand. In 2010, Panasonic spent a total of ¥477 billion, or 6.4% of its total sales on R&D.
Panasonic operates in a competitive market against large Japanese and overseas manufacturers, as well as smaller, specialized companies.