On January 10, 2008 Matsushita announced that it intends to change the company name to Panasonic Corporation, effective October 1, 2008. The proposal to change the company's name was approved at the firm's annual shareholder's meeting on June 26. Non-audio/visual products (mostly home appliances) currently branded "National" in Japan will be marketed under the Panasonic brand.
The brand Panasonic was created by Matsushita in 1955 for the Americas region because the National brand was already registered by others. The Panasonic brand was created from the elements "pan" meaning "all" combined with "sonic" meaning "sound", because it was first used for audio equipment.
Based on 2004 annual sales of electronics, Matsushita is the largest Japanese electronics maker ahead of Hitachi. Within the category of white goods, Matsushita is the world’s largest manufacturer. In the past, due to its imitation tactics Matsushita has been ridiculed in Japan as "Maneshita" ("mane" means imitation), but in fact Matsushita does vast amounts of its own product planning, research and development.
Including its related companies, Matsushita has developed a wide variety of enterprises, centering on home electronics, industrial equipment, and telecommunications equipment. Though not widely advertised before, in recent years its notebook computer line (Toughbook) has gained popularity and commercials for it are being aired on television. Other brand names associated with Panasonic include its Viera televisions and Lumix digital cameras.
The company's management style and corporate culture have been often compared to competitor Sony. When Sony is doing well, the number of books that praise Sony management increases, when conditions reverse, then more books that praise Panasonic management style are displayed in bookstores. Regardless of favorable sales and conditions, Sony and Panasonic are often viewed as rivals. This view probably arose from the videotape format wars between VHS (supported by Panasonic) and Betamax (supported by Sony). The largest direct competition between Sony and Panasonic is currently in the segment of audio products; Panasonic is also considered as Sony's rival in sales of flat panel TVs, digital cameras and DVD recorders—areas where Panasonic is focusing its production, marketing and sales efforts. In contrast, Sony has recently diversified into the cinema, video game, and financial areas, whereas Panasonic's whitegoods have no competition from Sony. After Sony's acquisitions of CBS Records and Columbia Pictures, Panasonic purchased MCA (including MCA Music and Universal Pictures) in 1991 but sold it out in 1995.
Matsushita's current corporate strategy is to seek cooperation and joint ventures in the development of certain technologies (such as LCDs), while continuing to compete against other companies such as Toshiba, Hitachi and Minebea to become the benchmark for Japanese electronics.
Panasonic Corporation of North America is the name for the American branch of Matsushita. It was known as Matsushita Electric Corporation of America (MECA) prior to 2005. It is based in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Shop@Panasonic is a chain of stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland which sells only Panasonic electronics. The store is based on the same structure as Sony Centre. The stores are usually located in shopping centres such as Centrale, and brand itself the official Panasonic retailer.
Panasonic Mobile Communications manufactures mobile handsets and related equipment for the Japanese market. It has the second largest marketshare for mobile phones in Japan after Sharp. It used to market its GSM phones worldwide, but in December 2005 the company announced its withdrawal from overseas markets. In summer 2008 rumours emerged that the company was considering to re-enter the Asian market with its VS84 handset.
Panasonic Avionics Corporation (PAC) is the world's leading supplier of in-flight entertainment (IFE) and communication systems. Headquartered in Lake Forest, California where engineering, development and testing is performed while system installation, field engineering, major quality functions, certification and program management are performed at the Bothell, Washington facility - Panasonic Avionics Corporation employs approximately 2,800 employees based in over 70 locations worldwide, with major facilities in London, Toulouse, Hamburg, Dallas, Dubai and Singapore. A majority of the component manufacturing is carried out in Osaka, Japan.
The company provides airline passengers with a wide array of interactive applications at their seats, combining entertainment (digital music and movies on demand, games, interactive moving maps, satellite TV, and online shopping) with business tools (E-mail, live flight schedules, and in-flight internet access). PAC is also one of the chief suppliers to both Boeing and Airbus and their IFE systems will be featured on both the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A380 aircraft.
Among the many worldwide customers that use PAC systems are award-winning airlines such as Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.
Panasonic Avionics Corporation is a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation of North America (PNA).
Panasonic is a primary sponsor of Toyota's Formula 1 program (Toyota F1), also known as Panasonic Toyota Racing. Hiro Matsushita, grandson of the company founder, is a former race car driver who stays actively involved in racing.
Panasonic is an official partner and sponsor of Major League Soccer.
Panasonic sponsored Sterling Marlin in the Nextel Cup Series. Panasonic was to sponsor the 14 in 24 races but the team shut down in July
Panasonic is the primary sponsor of the 2007 World Solar Challenge.
Panasonic has been a "top" sponsor of the Olympic Games since Seoul in 1988
Panasonic is the Official Worldwide Olympic Partner for Beijing 2008 Games.
It is said that in Kachō Kōsaku Shima, a popular manga series written by Kensi Hirokane, the main character works at Hatsushiba Electric, which is modeled on the author’s work experience at Panasonic. The Osaka office which appeared in the comic is supposed to be the Matsushita Twin Tower at Kyobashi in Osaka, and when Kosaku is sent to work in China, the view from the Shanghai office is the same as the actual view from the Panasonic office in Shanghai.
In the anime series "The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi" the main character Kyon uses a Panasonic FOMA 902i cell phone in episode 3.
In the popular Japanese Asahi Broadcasting Corporation program Panel Quiz Attack 25, the panel used in the stage setup was developed by Matsushita Electric. During the early days of the show, the technical staff of Matsushita Electric was stationed at the recording studio, in case of any unexpected occurrences.
The Sarcology song "Kill Your ISP" accuses Panasonic of having a bad reputation for repairing faulty goods, with the lyric "Two months in the shop is driving me crazy, Panasonic contractors sure are lazy".
Panasonic is also known for featuring Japanese pop superstar Ayumi Hamasaki in their TV commercials.
In the anime television show "Death Note", a large screen showing a news report had a logo saying "Fanasonic", a pun on 'Panasonic'.
In one episode of the Simpsons cartoon, Homer is looking at a Panaphonics brand television, and Sorny (Sony) and Magnetbox (Magnavox).
In Rockstar's video game, "GTA IV", there are various advertisements and logos for an electronics company called "Panoramic" which features a similar font and design.
Pan Sonic, the Finnish experimental electronic music duo was originally called Panasonic, but the name was changed after the corporation threatened with legal action.