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Sony Corporation

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Telephone : 08705 111999 (8.30am-6.00pm, Monday-Friday)

The History of the Sony Corporation

Originally called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Company), Sonys roots go back over half a century to 1946 when it was founded by Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita. In the crippled post-war Japanese economy Ibuka and Morita made their living repairing radios and manufacturing small numbers of voltmeters whilst looking to develop a future in designing and manufacturing new electronics. Perhaps surprisingly, their first electronic innovation was an automatic rice cooker. Its success was limited but it was the first in a long line of innovations which continue today.

Ibuka and Morita were global thinkers. They realised the need for a global brand which crossed cultural and language borders in order to expand the business in the US and later Europe. TTK was already being used by another company so a new name, Sony, was conceived. The name Sony derives from the Latin word sonus meaning sound and the English word sonny-boy - a term used by the Americans in the 1950's to denote a bright youngster.

Although the name of the company was not officially changed to Sony Corporation until 1958, the first Sony branded product was the TR-55 transistor radio which went on sale in 1955. This was shortly followed by Sonys world first "pocketable" transistor radio. Sonys UK history began in 1968 when Sony United Kingdom was founded in London. Six years later Sony became the first major Japanese company to open a factory in the UK. Today there are two factories, both in Wales, at Bridgend and Pencoed, which between them manufacture broadcast cameras, television sets and components for the UK and export to other countries around the world. Indeed, Sony was awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Export on four occasions in the 80s and 90s. Today Sony UK employs around 4,500 people in functions including Manufacturing, Sales and Marketing. Sonys UK Headquarters are located at Brooklands, near Weybridge, in Surrey, on the site of the old Brooklands Racing Circuit, just inside the M25.

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