Hitachi Details Internet Strategy

TOKYO (04/17/2000) - Hitachi Ltd. today became the latest Japanese electronics company to detail its battle plan for the Internet age, concentrating on the areas it knows best rather than making bold moves into the relatively uncharted world of mobile commerce or business-to-business portals.

Outlining a plan intended to make Hitachi the name behind Japan's top Internet companies, company President Etsuhiko Shoyama told a Tokyo news conference this afternoon that he hopes the new Internet focus will push annual Internet-related sales by the Hitachi Group up from a current 180 billion yen (US$1.7 billion) to 900 billion yen in 2003.

To achieve this target, the company will focus on becoming a comprehensive partner, leveraging the various existing areas of its business and technology to help others succeed online. Rather like selling shovels to gold prospectors, Hitachi hopes to provide the network infrastructure that will sit behind the future big-names of the Internet and run their businesses.

Different services and products will be targeted at different types of customers. Shoyama outlined five main areas in which it will offer services.

Two main sectors will be created for business: financial, distribution, manufacturing and service sectors will come under the business group while industrial, public transport and power generating companies will come under the industry group. In addition, Hitachi will target services at consumers, the government and the academic community.

Shoyama himself will lead the charge at the head of a new internal organization, Information and Network Services, which will promote the company's network business both internally and to third-party service providers and content holders.

Applications for the five business platforms will be offered to customers through a new company, Hitachi netBusiness Ltd., which will be established on April 21.

Hitachi hopes it can use its broad experience in multiple technologies to produce leading edge products. One such example is the TWX-21, a large business-to-business commerce and trading platform that is already in operation with more than 3,200 member companies.

Additionally, the main company is a major electrical and electronic systems manufacturer, one of the world's leading semiconductor companies and a major computer manufacturer. From elsewhere in the Hitachi Group, companies in fields as diverse as consumer credit and satellite broadcasting will widen the mix of technologies that can be drawn on for the new products and services.

One area that Shoyama did not announce a big push toward is that of consumer services. Aside from offering platforms that allow consumers to create content online, the company did not announce plans to jump feet first into the world of content provision or online consumer financial services, like several other major Japanese electronics makers have done recently.

Sony Corp. is aligning its businesses behind a range of Internet-based commerce services while NEC Corp. has plans to become Japan's leading Internet service provider and Toshiba Corp. is aiming some of its energy at the mobile Internet sector.

Hitachi Ltd., in Tokyo, can be found online at

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