Sony, Panasonic, and Sharp were once the premium brands when it comes to consumer electronics, from televisions to microwaves and digital music players.
Their products often carried higher price tags to reflect their perceived quality, and people snapped them up. And there seemed no other competitors to hinder their dominance.
However, the landscape of the consumer electronics world had changed. These Japanese giants have been struggling to turn a profit.
As of late, Sony's debt was downgraded for the second time in a month to one notch above junk status by Moody's. Sharp is already at junk status and is seeking a bailout from the Japanese government. Panasonic is eliminating any unprofitable businesses, which could mean Panasonic televisions may disappear from store shelves one day. And this collapse signals the end of an era for these Japanese companies.
These companies failed to pay attention to shifting trends and were outmaneuvered by overseas competitors, such as South Korea’s Samsung who had gained remarkable grasp on digital media and games, mobile devices, software apps and the Internet. The Japanese, on the other hand, struggled to keep up.
External factors like the rising value of the Japanese yen, which made products exported from Japan more expensive abroad and cut into margins at home, further squeezed these giant Japanese companies.
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