Stock market impressions of Hitachi vary more than normal for most other companies. This could be because of the very different shares the company commands in its various business lines. It is a clear leader in many heavy industries, and highly respected by its industrial clients. However, the consumer business is rather different, and Hitachi's technical product features do not always find appreciation with lay consumers. The company also has a few generic lines in which it offers no significant differentiation.
Hitachi consciously emphasizes its corporate brand rather than individual products. There are many examples in the stock market which prove that this approach works better with industrial clients rather than with small and dispersed consumers. Hitachi’s brand strategy hurts the company even more as younger demographic segments become market drivers. The company is highly centralized which is an obstacle to the multi-cultural approach required for global branding. It appears that Hitachi’s fortunes will depend more on its industrial lines than on consumer durables as time progresses.
Hitachi is listed in New York in addition to all major Japanese exchanges. The Chase Manhattan Bank and Citigroup own a total of 11% of the company’s shares. Hitachi has been in business for over 100 years, and has a number of achievements in the field of electrical engineering. Its product portfolio is now extremely wide, spanning a number of personal and industrial sectors.
Technology is a notable weakness for Hitachi, and it has no significant contribution in frontier areas such as nanotechnology, undersea exploration, and outer space. Its traditional strengths in managing assembly lines and large projects are not adequate to meet the challenges of tomorrow. The centralization of its top management is inappropriate for the current age of globalization. Normal stock market criteria for forecasting a company’s fortunes in a stochastic manner show Hitachi to be weak in strategic terms. It is therefore considered to be unsuitable for direct investment by small retail investors, unless they are patriotic Japanese!