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February 15, 2017updated 10 Mar 2017 5:00pm

What is Hitachi?

The Japanese company was nearly eradicated in World War II - find out how it survived and became one of the biggest companies in the world.

By Ellie Burns

Hitachi is a Japanese multinational conglomerate headquartered in Tokyo.

The company operates a total of eleven business segments such as, Information & Telecommunication systems, Social infrastructure, Automotive Systems & Equipment, Digital Media and Financial Services, among others.

Founded in 1910 by electrical engineer Namihei Odaira, the company’s first product was Japan’s first 5-horsepower electric induction motor for the copper mining industry. The company has since grown to be a well known name in IT, being most famous in this segment for its disk arrays, servers, mainframe computers and software.

The name Hitachi comes from the combination of two kanji characters – hi meaning ‘sun’ and ‘tachi’ meaning rise.

 

How did Hitachi survive World War II?

World War II devastated the Japanese manufacturing industry, with many Hitachi factories being destroyed. American occupational forces tried to disband Hitachi altogether, but three years of negotiations resulted in the company keeping all but 19 of its manufacturing plants.

Hitachi eventually recovered from World War II, following other Japanese industrial firms in benefiting from lucrative defense contracts offered by the American military.

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In 2011, Hitachi agreed to sell its hard disk subsidiary Hitachi Global Storage Technologies to Western Digital, in a deal worth $4.3 billion. Hitachi’s 3.5″ HDD division was eventually sold to Toshiba, following concerns of duopoly of WD and Seagate by the EU Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.

 

 

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