Since its founding in 1918, it grew to become the largest Japanese electronics producer. In addition to electronics, Panasonic offers non-electronic products and services such as home renovation services. Panasonic was ranked the 59th largest company in the world in 2007 by the Forbes Global 500 and is among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders.
In 1927, the company founder adopted a brand name "ナショナル" ("National") for a new lamp product, knowing "national" meant "of or relating to a people, a nation. In 1955, the company labeled its export audio speakers "PanaSonic", which was the first time it used its "Panasonic" brand name. The company began to use a brand name "Technics" in 1965. Multiple brand age lasted for some decades.
In May 2003, the company put "Panasonic" as its global brand, and set its global brand slogan, "Panasonic ideas for life." The company began to unify its brands to "Panasonic" and, by March 2004 replaced "National" for products and outdoor signboards, except for those in Japan.
On January 10, 2008, the company announced that it would change its name to "Panasonic Corporation" (effective on October 1, 2008) and unify "National" in Japan to its global brand "Panasonic" (by March 2010). The name change was approved at a shareholders' meeting on June 26, 2008.
Panasonic was founded in 1918 by Konosuke Matsushita first selling duplex lamp sockets. In 1927, it produced a bicycle lamp, the first product it marketed under the brand name National. It operated factories in Japan and Asia through the end of World War II, producing electrical components and appliances such as light fixtures, motors, and electric irons.
After World War II, Panasonic regrouped and began to supply the post war boom in Japan with radios and appliances. Matsushita's brother-in-law, Toshio Iue founded Sanyo as a subcontractor for components after WWII. Sanyo grew to become a competitor to Panasonic.
In 1961, Konosuke Matsushita traveled to the United States and met with American dealers. Panasonic began producing television sets for the U.S. market under the Panasonic brand name, and expanded the use of the brand to Europe in 1979.
The company used the National trademark outside of North America during the 1950s through the 1970s. It sold televisions, radios, and home appliances in some markets. The company began opening manufacturing plants around the world. It quickly developed a reputation for well-made reliable products.
The company debuted a hi-fi speaker in Japan in 1965 with the brand Technics. This line of high quality stereo components became worldwide favorites. The most famous product still made today is the SL-1200 record player, acknowledged for its high performance, precision, and durability.
In November 1999, the Japan Times reported that Panasonic planned to develop a "next generation first aid kit" called the Electronic Health Checker. At the time, the target market was said to be elderly people, especially those living in rural areas where medical help might not be immediately available, so it was planned that the kit would include support for telemedicine. The kits were then in the testing stage, with plans for eventual overseas distribution, to include the United States.
In recent years the company has been involved with the development of high-density optical disc standards intended to eventually replace the DVD and the SD memory card.
In many computer systems, Matsushita devices identify themselves as "MATSHITA", to fit the limit of 8 characters imposed by Microsoft Windows device handlers.