SANYO was founded in 1947 in Osaka, when construction of an electrical installation plant began. When the plant was ready to launch, in April 1950 the name of the new enterprise was finally formed in the founding documents as Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.


In those days in Japan, companies with “Electric” in their name were founded almost every day. Most never gained fame. Only a few of them subsequently managed to become giants in the electronics industry. Instantly becoming a leading manufacturer of generator headlights for bicycles, in just a few years the company became one of the leading Japanese exporters, sending over 100 thousand sets of its products abroad every month. The takeoff is all the more surprising given the background of another fact: until 1952, Sanyo did not produce anything other than these light bulbs.

Logos of the Sanyo brand have changed during its existence  

In its activities, Sanyo Electric pursues the goal of not surprising, but satisfying the consumer. Having, like other giants, its own narrow-profile production facilities, scientific and development departments, the group produces products that are best suited to a particular market and consumer needs.

Generator headlights turned out to be a very popular product. However, Iue Toshio, who headed Sanyo Electric in the 50s, decided that the company would not go far with bicycle accessories alone. He believed that an enterprise capable of applying the most advanced technologies must necessarily prove itself in them. In 1952, the first radio receiver in the Japanese industry, the Sanyo SS-52 with a plastic case, became a symbol of this novelty.

Stereo receiver Sanyo 2016 (1981)  

However, other new products that Sanyo launched in its first decade were much more successful. The company entered the American market with an inexpensive, but high-quality and reliable tube radio, which was exported under the RCA brand. To the domestic market – with its own washing machine (1953), with black and white televisions (mass production began in 1955), transistor radios (1956), stereo systems (1958) and tape recorders (1960).

Another surprising fact is that Sanyo was not a pioneer in any of these areas. Because she didn’t really try to be. Every new idea was immediately picked up by Sanyo, but before being embodied in products, it went through a long stage of fine-tuning. After all, it’s one thing to produce a new product and be the first to throw it onto the market, and completely different to have the same product, but available to a wide range of buyers. Sanyo excelled at the latter.

 Music center Sanyo RSG 052 (1972) 

In 1961, Sanyo could already call itself the largest Japanese exporter of portable transistor radios. In 1963, the Sanyo MR-100 tape recorder became a bestseller on the world market. By 1980, the company increased the production of portable reel-to-reel and cassette tape recorders to 15 million units per year.

Within three years (1975-1977), the export of Sanyo digital wristwatches worldwide reached a gigantic figure: 1.3 million units. Nowadays such things are inexpensive. And in the years of its appearance, digital watches, possessing unprecedented functions, seemed to be the pinnacle of perfection and were not much different in price from the products of Swiss watchmakers. The success of Sanyo watches was brought by the ability to recharge from sunlight and, of course, a humane price.

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   Answering machine Sanyo DR 202 (1983)    

In Sanyo’s history, only one product could bear the label of “World’s First” – the all-transistor DC-600 stereo system, created in 1963.

The company is developing at a very fast pace. In 1979, the first personal computer SANYO appeared. Active development towards “green” technologies begins, in which significant success has been achieved. So, in 1990, an airplane using SANYO solar panels crossed America for the first time in the history of such technology.

Continuing to adhere to the same multidisciplinary approach, the company begins producing projectors, mobile phones (the division was transferred to Kyocera in 2008), digital cameras, and navigators. SANYO’s structure begins to become more complex, with many subsidiaries appearing.

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Personal computer Sanyo MBC-4050 (1982)   

On December 21, 2009, SANYO was absorbed by Panasonic Corp. The transaction amount exceeded 4.5 billion US dollars. Negotiations lasted for almost a year. The takeover was preceded by several years of financial turmoil that had plagued SANYO and led to significant job cuts. Apparently the excessive versatility of the corporation had become too much of a burden for it, since managing such a complex structure was becoming increasingly difficult.