Kenwood Corporation is one of Japan’s largest and most successful consumer-oriented electronics companies. The firm designs, manufactures, and markets a broad range of electronic consumer products for markets around the world, including such high-technology items as amplifiers, speakers, home and automotive audio products, receivers, CD players, cassette decks, high-end personal computer components, cellular phones, oscilloscopes, and mobile radios. Most of the firm’s revenues come from the sale of audio equipment and products, but Kenwood’s entry into new markets such as meteorological satellite receivers is garnering more and more revenue with each passing year. The company’s brand name electronics products are among the most popular in the United States, and much of the firm’s success can be attributed to the well-managed Kenwood USA Corporation subsidiary located in Long Beach, California. In addition to its U.S. presence, Kenwood also has manufacturing facilities and sales offices in numerous countries around the world.
Incorporated as Kasuga Radio Company in 1946, a young group of entrepreneurs had decided to take advantage of the growing market for postwar consumer products. Since much of Japan had been destroyed by the effects of World War II, the nation was eager and ready to re-create its national economy. One of the worldwide burgeoning markets included electronic equipment, so the Kasuga Radio Company was established in Nagano, Japan, to manufacture sophisticated high-fidelity electronic components and amateur radio equipment. Within a short time, the company was one of the leading electronic consumer products companies in the nation, and in 1949 Kasuga Radio Company made a major leap in technology-intensive manufacturing when it introduced the very first high-frequency transformer.
Throughout the 1950s, the company continued to develop innovative products for the electronic consumer products industry. Once again, in 1957, engineers at the company achieved a major innovative breakthrough in research with the development and manufacture of the first FM tuner in Japan. At approximately the same time, the company also began producing a wide range of precision test and measuring instruments, including such items as oscilloscopes, voltometers, and regulated DC power supplies. In order to reflect the values and efficiency of a modern company, management decided to change the name of the firm to Trio-Kenwood Corporation.
Fortunately, as the national economy of Japan expanded, Trio-Kenwood rode the wave of continuing economic prosperity and expansion. By the time the 1960s arrived, the company was poised to shift its operations from a national to an international focus. Having already completed a comprehensive strategic plan for expansion in the late 1950s, company management took its first step in 1963 with the establishment of Kenwood Electronics, Inc. in Los Angeles, California. The company was formed as a distributorship and began to market and sell Trio products under the exclusive brand name of Kenwood. The first Japanese firm operating in the United States under its own name, Kenwood within a few years would catapult to the top of the rapidly expanding consumer electronics market in the United States. At the same time, the company established major production and marketing subsidiaries in France, Belgium, Italy, West Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. By the mid-1960s, Trio-Kenwood was mass producing audio, communications, and test equipment around the world. By 1969, the firm had grown so large that it was listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and began selling shares of stock to the public.
During the early 1960s, the company designed and manufactured a solid state amplifier, the first of its kind in Japan. This development signaled a major change within the electronics industry from the use of vacuum tubes to the widespread use of transistors.