Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
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The Hitachi Group of Japan

The Hitachi company had its origins in the city of Hitachi northeast of Tokyo in Ibaraki prefecture. Copper deposits were discovered in the locale of that city and during the Meiji Era a copper smelter was built and developed there. The Hitachi company was first founded by Namihei Odaira in 1910 as a repair shop for the copper company of Hitachi and later (1920) became the Hitachi company. It extended its product line beyond copper products into electrical equipment. After World War II it expanded into consumer appliances and heavy electrical machinery. Later Hitachi invested in research and development in computers and nuclear energy. It is a major competitor in the electronics industry, including communications. Additionally it manufactures locomotive engines. In the field of computers it has a working association with the Intel Corporation.

Hitachi is noted for its willingness to take risks in new technology and management styles. It is sometimes referred to as the wandering samurai. Although its core is in three subsidiaries; Hitachi Metals, Hitachi Chemicals, and Hitachi Cable; it has altogether about eight hundred subsidiaries.

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