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Mitsubishi Group

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Mitsubishi Group is a large Japanese conglomerate that trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and consists of a multitude of independently operated companies representing a wide cross section of industries that include construction, machinery, mining, warehousing, transport, steel, real estate, chemicals, metal products, textiles and apparel to name only a few. According to a web portal representing the entirety of the Mitsubishi Group, the exact number of companies that fall under the Mitsubishi umbrella is near impossible to define or count, so complicated and gargantuan are Mitsubishi's holdings. Mitsubishi estimates that the number of companies is somewhere well over 200. Within Mitsubishi, an informal core group of companies also exist, referred to in Japanese as "Kinyokai."[1]

Many of these companies also utilize the company's distinctive trademark logo-a three- pronged diamond-shaped emblem. The name Mitsubishi is a combination of the Japanese words "mitsu" and "hishi." Mitsu means three and hishi refers to water chestnut, that has come to denote in Japanese, a rhombus or diamond shape.[2]

The Mitsubishi symbol has also come to represent a value-based three-pronged philosophy for conducting business, even to this day, that was originally adopted in 1870 by Mitsubishi's founding father, Yataro Iwasaki, known as the Three Principles: Shoki Hoki (Corporate Responsibility to Society), Shoji Komei (Intergrity and Fairness), and Ritsugyo Boeki (International Understanding through Trade).[3]


[edit] History

Mitsubishi's origins date back to 1870 when founder and first president, Yataro Iwasaki purchased three aging steamships from his clan and established his own shipping company. The company grew very rapidly, undergoing several name changes in the process, eventually becoming known as Mitsubishi Mail Steamship Co. The Mitsubishi Mail Steamship Co. was the first Japanese company to course an overseas route.

In the early 1880s, the Japanese government took the liberty of sponsoring the establishment of a competing company. The rivalry between the two companies nearly resulted in the demise of Mitsubishi. In 1885 Yataro died of cancer and was succeeded as president by his younger brother, Yanosuke. The shipping feud between Mitsubishi and its competitor also came to an abrupt halt with a government-arbitrated merger.[4]

[edit] Diversifying and Decentralizing Operations

Over the coming years, under Yanosuke's leadership, Mitsubishi diversified its business operations, focusing the company's growth on mining and shipbuilding. Yanosuke also incorporated Mitsubishi's affiliated companies into a modern corporation. Eventually he went on to expand the business to include banking, insurance, and warehousing. In 1893, Hisaya Iwasaki continued in his father's footsteps as president. In much the same manner, he continued to focus on corporate diversification, forming separate divisions within the company for banking, real estate, marketing, and administration. During his tenure as president, Hisaya also made some very prosperous private investments that still exist as part of Mitsubishi's global operations to this day.[5]

[edit] Mitsubishi in the Modern Era

In 1916 Koyata Iwasaki, son of Yanosuke, took over the presidency from Hisaya. Koyata, a graduate of Cambridge University, led Mitsubishi into the modern era incorporating certain Mitsubishi divisions into semi-independent companies. Under his presidency, Mitsubishi also became a leader in the machinery, electrical, equipment, and chemical sectors. In 1934 these companies grouped together to become Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, manufacturing a range of products from automobiles, to aircrafts, to tanks and buses.

World War II also had a direct impact on the company's organizational infrastructure. Slowly, the Iwasaki family's grip on the company began to loosen when public offerings of shares in the core holding company were released to the public. By the war's end, investors made up half of the company's equity. Eventually, Mitsubishi's headquarters disbanded, leading to corporate fragmentation resulting in the formation of hundreds of autonomous enterprises. By 1946 many companies that had been part of the original Mitsubishi gave up the name and trademark logo due to pressure from occupation forces.

In 1954 a group of 100 companies that had been part of Mitsubishi regrouped to re-establish Mitsubishi Corp. The core players of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries also reunited in 1964. Many of the old companies that had been part of the original Mitsubishi and abandoned the name and trademark logo during the war began using both again. Mitsubishi flourished during the 1950s and 1960s due to Japan's unprecedented growth. The company continued to expand in its existing industries as well as branch off into new ventures.[6]

[edit] The Company Today

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries consists of over 130 different companies encompassing a range of product categories. With headquarters based in Japan, MHI employs approximately 62,940 people worldwide and reported net revenues of $26, 234.5 million in 2006. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is a Fortune 500 company ranking in at 257 in 2007 and garnering a second place spot behind Caterpillar in the industrial and farm equipment industry.[7] 

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[edit] References

  1. About. Mitsubishi. 2008-09-23.
  2. About. Mitsubishi. 2008-09-23.
  3. Group. Mitsubishi. 2008-09-23.
  4. History. Mitsubishi. 2008-09-23.
  5. History. Mitsubishi. 2008-09-23.
  6. History. Mitsubishi. 2008-09-23.
  7. Fortune 500. Money CNN. 2008-09-23.

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