1 The Apprentice
2 Seeking a New Market in Tokyo
3 On hte Move
4 Lead by Example
5 Starting with Less than Nothing
6 A run of Bad Luck
7 Company Foundation
8 The Third Crisis
9 Entry into the Electric Appliance Industry
10 SANYO Move into the Appliance Business
11 Venturing into the Global Market
12 Great Leap Forward
13 From President to Chairman
14 The End of An Era

The Life And times of Toshio Iue. Founder of SANYO

Entry into the Electric Appliance Industry

1 2 3

Competing with Black Market Radios

Competing with Black Market Radios
The Korean War, which started in June of 1950, created a severe nickel shortage. This shortage heavily impacted on SANYO as nickel was indispensable for the production of dynamo-powered bicycle lamps. Toshio, after overcoming that obstacle, decided to manufacture radios to avoid similar problems that could arise from total dependance on one product.
In those days, Japanese statistics recorded the production volume for radios at 410,000 per year. In reality, however, this figure accounted for only 40% of all radios on the market. The remaining 60% were assembled and sold on the black market. Due to a high commodity tax of 30%, black market radios sold much better than the expensive brand names. In response to such circumstances, Toshio directed his employees to develop a reasonably-priced, high-performance radio and lobbied for tax cuts.
Brand name radios sold for about 15,000 yen which was unaffordable for most people. To compete with both brand name and black market products, SANYO – a late starter in the industry – had to design a radio of superior quality that could be sold at a price less than 10,000 yen. His employees came up with a production plan to manufacture 100,000 units a year. They figured that mass production was the only way to keep costs down. This was quite a bold approach as manufactures at that time would produce only three to five thousand units for one model. On approval from Toshio, the plan went ahead.

back
page top
next

close