Itochu Corporation (伊藤忠商事株式会社, Itōchū Shōji
Kabushiki-gaisha, known in English as C. Itoh & Co. until 1992) is
a Japanese corporation based in Umeda,
Kita-ku, Osaka and Aoyama,
Itochu is the second-largest Japanese sogo shosha (general trading
company) after Mitsubishi Corporation. Among Japanese trading
companies, it is distinguished by not being descended from an
historical zaibatsu group, but by the strength of its textiles
business and its successful business operations in China. It has
six major operational divisions specializing in textiles,
metals/minerals, food, machinery, energy/chemicals and ICT/general
Itochu was ranked 174th on 2013's list of
Fortune Global 500 companies with an annual trading revenue of 145
Itochu is a member of the Mizuho keiretsu.
1.1 Prewar years
1.2 Postwar years
3 Business overview
4 Printer models
5 Notable people
7 External links
Itochu dates the start of its business to 1858, shortly after the
Japan to foreign trade, when Chubei Itoh (伊藤 忠兵衛,
Itō Chūbei) began door-to-door wholesaling of linen in the regions
Osaka and Kyushu. Itoh founded the "Benichu" drapery store in
the Honmachi district of
Osaka in 1872. This site was renamed "Itoh
Honten" in 1884 and became the Itoh Thread and Yarn Store in 1893,
which was renamed "C. Itoh & Co." in 1914.
Chubei Itoh II took over the company following his father's death in
1903. The company opened an office in Shanghai in the 1890s and
started business in Seoul in 1905, but had severe difficulties with
these first overseas forays. Itoh travelled to London in 1910 and
began direct procurement and financing for the business in the London
markets, which considerably improved its margins as it had previously
used more expensive intermediaries in Japan.
Itoh's company grew considerably in the wake of World War I, with
offices in the United States, India, the Philippines and China, and
the firm began to handle machinery, automobiles and metals in addition
to its core business of textiles. However, a recession in 1920 left
the company deeply in debt, and unlike the major zaibatsu firms of the
time, it had no captive bank to finance its business. In 1921, the
company split in half, with one half forming what is now known as
Marubeni. The company's performance improved in the 1930s, but as
World War II
World War II began in the latter half of the decade, all trading
companies' business became increasingly war-oriented. In 1941, Itoh
Marubeni re-combined to form Sanko Kabushiki Kaisha, which merged
with two other companies to form Daiken Co., Ltd. in 1944.
After World War II, the constituent companies of Daiken were spun off
from each other in December 1949 as part of GHQ efforts to dismantle
the war-era zaibatsu. Itoh re-listed on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange
Tokyo Stock Exchange in
Itoh resumed business in the wake of the war by bartering Japanese
textiles for foreign grain, and resumed trading in petroleum,
aircraft, automobiles and machinery to meet UN forces requirements
during the Korean War. After the war, Itoh absorbed many smaller
trading operations that could no longer stand on their own. Itoh
expanded its overseas mining and petroleum exploration activity in the
late 1960s and early 1970s, followed by large-scale overseas
industrial projects in the 1980s.
Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army staff officer
Ryuzo Sejima joined Itoh
in 1958 after spending 11 years in a Siberian prison. Four years
later, he was promoted to director and became Itoh's head of corporate
planning, implementing a military-style internal reporting system. He
went on to serve as president and chairman of the company, having
developed a powerful group of followers known as the "Sejima Machine."
In 1970, Sejima and his younger protege Minoru Murofushi arranged a
joint venture between
General Motors and Isuzu, one of the first
tie-ups between US and Japanese automakers. In 1972 Itoh became the
first Japanese trading company allowed to do business in the People's
Republic of China.
Itoh was headquartered near the site of Chubei Itoh's historical
Osaka until 1967, when it upgraded its Tokyo branch to
the status of a co-headquarters. In the 1970s, the company became
part of the "Kawasaki Group" within the keiretsu of Dai-Ichi Kangyo
Bank (now Mizuho Corporate Bank), eventually displacing
Nissho Iwai as
the keiretsu's dominant trading company. Itoh's affiliation with the
keiretsu was significantly looser than other keiretsu-affiliated
trading companies, and many firms within the DKB group did not use
Itoh's services at all.
Itoh absorbed Ataka & Co., the ninth largest general trading
company in Japan, in 1977. Ataka had recently suffered major losses
from an oil development project in the United States and had undergone
restructuring at the direction of its main lender, Sumitomo Bank.
From the early 1970s Itoh was a major supplier of synthetic yarn
(polyester) to India's Reliance Industries Limited. Over the years,
the close collaboration between both companies culminated in the
co-promotion of a world-scale
Polypropylene Project with a capacity of
250,000 tonnes per annum at a total project cost of Rs. 525 Crores, at
Hazira in the State of Gujarat. With a $50 million for a 15 percent
stake, it was at that point, the largest investment in India by a
Japanese firm. Itoh also marketed products—under their own
label—as diverse as a line of bicycles (mostly manufactured by
Bridgestone), and computer printers.
Itochu began to develop a strong
information technology business in the 1980s through its subsidiary C.
Itoh Techno-Science (CTC), which acted as a
Japan distributor for Sun
Microsystems, Cisco, Oracle and others.
On October 1, 1992, C. Itoh & Co. Ltd. changed its English name to
Itochu Corporation, a more direct transliteration of its Japanese
name. By the early 1990s
Itochu had become the largest trading
company in Japan, but losses from the Japanese asset price bubble,
particularly domestic real estate investments, brought it down to
third place by the middle of the decade. In the 1990s
several investments in the media industry, including a minority stake
Time Warner and investments in cable and satellite delivery
Uichiro Niwa became president of
Itochu in 1998, implementing cuts to
unprofitable businesses and cutting back executive perks enjoyed by
his predecessor Murofushi. In 1999,
Itochu became one of the first
Japanese companies to move away from the traditional seniority-based
pay scale, adopting a base pay scale based on responsibilities, impact
and value of each position as well as a performance-linked bonus
Itochu also spun off CTC in 1999, only to see CTC quickly
achieve a market capitalization more than twice that of its former
Masahiro Okafuji became president of
Itochu in 2010 and announced a
strategy to make
Itochu the first-ranked sogo shosha in areas other
than raw resources, particularly in food products and machinery. Under
Itochu implemented a general ban on work after 8
PM with an across-the-board "lights out" policy at 10 PM while
encouraging that any necessary overtime be taken in the early morning
hours, reducing the total amount of overtime across the company.
Itochu moved its
Osaka headquarters to the North Gate Building
Osaka Station in 2011.
Itochu entered into a cross-shareholding relationship with the Thai
Charoen Pokphand (CP) in 2014, and together with CP,
agreed to invest over $8 billion in the Chinese state-owned
CITIC Limited during 2015, the largest investment ever
made by a Japanese general trading company. The transaction was
also the largest acquisition in China by a Japanese company, and the
largest investment by foreigners in a Chinese state-owned
In July 2016, short seller Glaucus Research Group published a report
critical of Itochu's accounting practices, causing a stock price dip
of around 10%.
Osaka headquarters is located at the North Gate Building,
Umeda 3-Chome, Kita-ku, Osaka,
Japan Its Tokyo headquarters is
located at 5-1 Kita-Aoyama 2-Chome, Minato, Tokyo, Japan.
ITOCHU also has seven branch offices in Japan, sixteen offices and
local subsidiaries in China, 24 in Asia, eight in the CIS,
four in Australia, fifteen in the Middle East, eight in
Africa, twelve in Europe, ten in North America and nine in
Itochu's business is organized into six "companies."
Itochu trades in raw materials and finished apparel, and
also has a brand business. It owns a portfolio of investments and
rights in well-known fashion brands including Converse, Hunting World,
Mila Schön and Paul Smith.
Machinery: Includes plant projects, marine, aerospace, automotive,
construction/industrial machinery and healthcare. In the
Itochu is a partner in the Yanase imported car
dealership and partnered with
Mazda and EnerDel to produce a
solar-charged Mazda2. In the infrastructure sector,
Hitachi to supply infrastructure for the first
expressway in Vietnam, the North–South Expressway between
Ho Chi Minh City.
Itochu is also a partner in supplying rolling
stock for the
MTR in Hong Kong and for New Generation Rollingstock
passenger rail in Queensland, Australia. It is a minority investor
in the Sarulla geothermal power project in Indonesia and has
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and
Engie to develop the
Sinop Nuclear Power Plant
Sinop Nuclear Power Plant in Sinop, Turkey.
Metals and minerals: Engages in mining and ore trading, steel and
non-ferrous metal trading, coal and nuclear fuel trading and solar
Energy and chemicals: Trades in oil and gas and a wide range of
chemical products such as methanol, PTA and fertilizers.
Food: Handles production, processing and distribution of various
foodstuffs. Two major group businesses are FamilyMart, acquired
from Seiyu in 1998, and Dole Food Company, which sold its
worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh produce businesses to Itochu
for $1.7 billion in cash.
Itochu is also a strategic partner of
COFCO in China and owns an export grain terminal in Longview,
ICT, general products and realty: The sixth company handles a variety
of business lines including real estate development, logistics,
insurance, forest products and information technology. Group companies
Itochu Techno-Solutions (CTC),
Japan and Century 21
8500 / 8510A (
NEC 8023, ImageWriter), B, S, SC
Riteman F+, C+
CT40 / CT60 Thermal
CIE 250 Dot Matrix
CIE 500/1000 Dot Matrix
CIE 600 Dot Matrix
Mac Akasaka, rare earths trader, perennial candidate in Japanese
Ichiro Fujisaki, former Japanese ambassador to the United States,
currently member of the Board of Directors of Itochu
Hiroyuki Nagahama, member of the House of Representatives and
Environment Minister in 2012, worked for
Itochu early in his
Uichiro Niwa, president from 1998 to 2004, later Japanese ambassador
Ryūzō Sejima, chairman from 1978 to 1981, Kwantung Army staff
officer during World War II
Toshiyuki Takano, retired diplomat, currently executive advisor to
Tsuneharu Takeda, former Imperial prince and later ambassador to
Bulgaria, worked at
Itochu from 1967 to 2005 and served as head of its
Australia and New Zealand.
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^ "Textile Company". ITOCHU Corporation. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
^ "Machinery Company". ITOCHU Corporation. Retrieved 9 June
Hitachi and ITOCHU Win Order for ITS Package for Vietnam's
Expressway". ITOCHU Corporation. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 18 April
^ "Announces Awarding of Contract "Rolling Stock Modification and New
Train Cars for SCL Phase 1" for
MTR in Hong Kong". ITOCHU Corporation.
24 January 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
^ "ITOCHU to Participate in PPP
New Generation Rollingstock
New Generation Rollingstock Project in
Queensland, Australia". ITOCHU Corporation. 29 January 2014. Retrieved
18 April 2014.
^ "ITOCHU Announces Conclusion of Loan Contract for Sarulla Geothermal
IPP Project in Indonesia". ITOCHU Corporation. 31 March 2014.
Retrieved 18 April 2014.
^ "2 Japanese companies aim to fund 30% of Turkish nuclear project".
Nikkei Asian Review. Nikkei. 8 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
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^ "Energy & Chemicals Company". ITOCHU Corporation. Retrieved 9
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Itochu to buy Dole Food businesses for $1.7 billion".
Reuters. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-19. Retrieved
^ "ICT, General Products & Realty Company". ITOCHU Corporation.
Retrieved 9 June 2015.
Official website(in English)
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