What do washing machines and nuclear power plants have in common? Hitachi makes them both.

Hitachi is a Japanese multinational conglomerate that’s based out of Chiyoda, Tokyo in Japan. The company is over the entire Hitachi Group, and is also part of the extended DKB group of companies. What’s remarkable about Hitachi today is how diverse its product offerings are. 

Hitachi makes defense technology, information systems equipment, telecom equipment, industrial machinery, power tools, auto parts, power plants, escalator technology, elevator technology, heavy equipment, digital media, and consumer products. That’s a lot of stuff for one little company! Or one big company as the case may be. 

Place of Importance

Hitachi is actually a city in Japan, and its that city that lends its name to the Hitachi company. The word itself is made up of two different words – hi, meaning “sun”, and tachi, meaning “rise”. The company was founded in Hitachi in 1918 by Namihei Odaira. Originally a venture that was part of a larger mining company, the brand quickly grew to be much more.  

Hitachi suffered tremendously during World War II, as many of its factories were destroyed during bombing raids by the Allies. Following the war, the company’s founder was removed and it saw a massive round of labor strikes and struggle during the post war period.

Strangely enough, it was another war that vaulted the company back onto good ground, though this time it was Hitachi who made equipment for its former enemy, the Americans. The Korean War saw a big increase in business through defense contracts for Hitachi, a move that would be formative for the company’s future. 

Hitachi went public in 1949.

Hitachi America was formed in 1959, followed by Hitachi Europe in 1982. 

Electronics Expansion

Hitachi went on to become a dual brand, one that marketing a wide variety of products to governments and corporate contracts, and another that focused on consumer end goods. 

The Hitachi name has been part of the manufacture of televisions and computer hard disks, batteries and refrigerators. It’s also expanded to a whole realm of digital products, like servers and software. 

It’s expansion into nuclear energy has been challenging. The destruction of the Fukushima Power Plant in Japan in 2011 put into question the company’s involvement in building nuclear power plants, leading to a sixty-five million yen write off in 2016. Future plans for nuclear power have been put on hold for Hitachi’s future in both Britain and in Japan. 

Heavy Lifting

Hitachi is in the top fifty largest businesses in the world according to the Fortune Global 500. It’s revenue is nine point five trillion yen each year, with total assets of almost ten trillion dollars. The company employs over three hundred thousand people all over the world to manufacture and sell its products. 

These are huge moving pieces, all backed by a trusted brand. Hitachi has numerous subsidiaries, including Hitachi Metals, Hitachi Defense Systems, Hitachi Vantara, Hitachi, Electronics, Hitachi Consulting, Hitachi Plant Technologies, Hitachi Rail, and a vast research and development division. 

All told, Hitachi houses a vast array of products and services. Its products and services continue to expand, particularly in defense and energy.