The history of Mitsubishi Electric is the history of the development of modern Japan. The company was founded in 1921, when Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. (now Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.) spun off a factory in Kobe, Japan that made electric motors for ocean-going vessels into a new company called Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.
In that year, the new company entered the consumer sector by manufacturing and marketing an electric fan, which became a hit product. Over the next decade the company succeeded in landing major contracts, including one for the development of an electric railway substation.
In the 1930s Mitsubishi Electric started manufacturing, installing and maintaining elevators and escalators as well as producing electric power generation equipment. The company continued to grow and branch out at a brisk pace, and by 1960 had emerged as one of the most innovative diversified electrical equipment manufacturers in Japan. In the early 1960s the company also turned its attention to environmentally conscious manufacturing techniques —many years before environmental concern became a serious issue.
Over the next two decades the company began extending its reach overseas while establishing itself as a pioneer in the development of computers, advanced air conditioning systems, automobile electronics, satellites powered by photovoltaic technology, and nuclear power generation.
From 1980 to the present day, the pace at which Mitsubishi Electric has introduced and refined breakthrough technologies and products for the benefit of society, industry and individuals has been nothing less than astonishing. These technologies include the world's first large-scale LED screen for sports arenas, the world's largest CRT television screen for the consumer market, the world's first spiral escalator, the world's fastest elevators, the antenna technology behind the world's first commercial in-flight Internet service, and much more.
Today, Mitsubishi Electric is a global giant with operations in 40 countries, more than 120,000 employees, and consolidated net sales of more than US$39 billion. (Figures are as per Annual Report 2014.)