NEWS: Panasonic to rebrand itself - as Panasonic

The company behind Panasonic, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., is to rename itself Panasonic Corporation, thus dropping the name of company founder, the late Konosuke Matsushita (left), after 90 years.

The company believes the move, which will also see the end of the National brand name used on domestic appliances in Japan, will help it increase its presence in export markets.

The Panasonic name was adopted for all products in export markets in 2003 - a move which saw the disappearance of the Technics brand - and now the company feels it seeds to take the policy to its logical conclusion.

The idea is to give it increased brand-recognition abroad, of the kind managed by the likes of Sony and Toyota. It will see some 500 affiliated companies also changing their names.

The Matsushita corporate name has been used since the company started in 1918, its first product being an improved Edison-screw-type adaptor to allow electrical appliance to be connected into light sockets.

The company took an interest in Japanese company JVC - the Japan Victor Company - in the 1950s, and the brother-in-law of Konosuke Matsushits, Toshio Iue, founded in 1947 what would eventually become Sanyo in an unused Matsushita factory, making bicycle lamps.

Almost from the start the National brand name was used on Matsushita products, and in its early days it used aggressive pricing and then-unusual national newspaper advertising to sell its products in Japan.

It also established a country-wide chain of National shops, selling all of the company's products from consumer electronics to washing machines, refrigerators and bicycles. Consumers could order anything from the company's huge catalogue, and have it delivered to their neighbourhood store.

As well as founding the company, Konosuke Matsushita was widely known as an acclaimed author on business management and more global matters. He said of his company that "The main purpose of production is to manufacture items of good quality for daily use in abundant supply, thereby enhancing and improving the life for everyone and it is this goal that I am dedicated.

"Achieving this mission is the ultimate purpose of Matsushita Electric, and we will devote untiring energy to realise this goal.”.

He retired in 1973, and died in 1989, aged 94. He is remembered by a History House and museum at the company's headquarters, including reconstructions of the home in which the first products were made and Konosuke Matsushita's own office.

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.