|Fate||Acquired by Sony Corporation, sold off to Hale Devices and Aiwa is now an independent company, after its acquirer, Hale Devices, changed its name to Aiwa.|
|Successor||Became a subsidiary of Sony Corporation (former), became owned by same-named company, Aiwa (currently).|
|Defunct|| • 2002 (company)
• 2006 (brand), as of 2015 not defunct.
|Parent||Sony Corporation (2002–2006), Hale Devices (2006-2015), Aiwa (2015-)|
The Aiwa Corporation (commonly called Aiwa (アイワ?)) is a Japanese consumer-electronics company. It is now a trademark of a Chicago-based company named Aiwa. It produced audio and video equipment from the 1970s until the early 2000s.
The company was founded in 1951 as AIKO Denki Sangyo Co., Ltd., manufacturing microphones, and changed its name to Aiwa Co., Ltd. in October 1959. The company was a leading manufacturer of audio products, including headphone stereos, minicomponent stereo systems, portable stereo systems, minidisc players, CD and cassette players, and car stereo systems throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s. Nearly 86 percent of company revenues were derived from such audio products. The company also made and sold video products, such as VCRs, color televisions, DVD players, and digital satellite television tuners; this sector accounted for about 12 percent of sales. In the "other" category responsible for the remainder of sales, Aiwa was involved in the production of computer peripherals devices, such as modems, terminal adapters, and speakers, and what the company termed "life amenity products," such as air cleaners and humidifiers.
Aiwa manufactured more than 89 percent of its output outside of Japan, with a heavy emphasis on the lower-cost southeast Asian nations of Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The company was also heavily dependent on overseas sales, with more than 80 percent of total revenues being generated outside Japan, with 43 percent in North and South America, 25 percent in Europe, and 13 percent in areas of Asia outside Japan and in other regions. Although officially an affiliated company of consumer electronics giant Sony Corporation — by 1982 Sony had a 54.6% stake in the company — Aiwa prided itself on its independent operation and competed head on with Sony in several product categories.
Operations after acquisition by Sony
The company slid towards bankruptcy until it was purchased by competitor Sony Corporation. As of October 1, 2002, Aiwa ceased to be a separate company and became a wholly owned division of Sony. The company retained a logo from the mid-1990s which was used for a very short time.
Sony's reasoning for acquiring the company is unclear, other than that it was already a shareholder in Aiwa Corporation. However, Aiwa was eligible for a tax refund in Japan for fiscal year 2002, which offset the dropping figures in Sony's financial report for fiscal years 2002 and 2003. In January 2003, Sony announced the rebranding and relaunch of Aiwa as a "youth focused, PC-centric" electronics brand. A new logo was presented to the world's media along with a statement of Sony's intention to invest in and "revitalize" the Aiwa brand.
The direction proposed was to capitalize on the growing trend among personal-computer-literate teenagers and young adults to use their PCs for all forms of entertainment (television, films, music, chat), an area in which Sony itself was struggling primarily due to the heavy copyright protections it imposed upon its products.
Since 2004, however, Sony seemingly began rolling back its support for the Aiwa brand, and by 2005 Aiwa products remained on sale in only selected territories around the globe. In 2006, Aiwa products were discontinued and no longer sold in the market.
As of January 2014, the Aiwa website still existed to provide customer-support telephone numbers for some territories and regions, but it also contained many broken links and blank pages. In other regions, such as Europe, it redirected to a page on the Sony website stating that the Aiwa website had closed. The last apparent update to the website was in June 2008.
In March 2015, a Chicago based consumer electronics company headed by Joe Born and previously called Hale Devices, Inc. announced it had acquired the Aiwa trademark, was renaming itself Aiwa and was launching a line of wireless speakers under that brand name.
- List of companies of Japan
- List of electronics brands
- List of electronics companies
- Sony Corporation shareholders and subsidiaries
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