This post is also available in: Japanese
I mentioned previously how so many of the Japanese companies I met with during my last trip to Japan in December 2013 said that the only way they could see to make the radical changes needed to globalize successfully would be to move the corporate headquarters out of Japan. Of course this would be way too radical for risk averse Japanese companies to try to do in one swoop, however many have been moving the headquarters of some of their business lines or functions overseas, for example to Singapore, over the past few years.
So Hitachi’s announcement that it will move its rail business to the UK is not totally unprecedented, but exciting nonetheless for those of us who think the “transnational” model of running multinationals is the way to move forwards. Hitachi had already acquired The Railway Engineering Company (and Horizon Nuclear Power) in the UK in recent years, with the result that around 11,500 employees are employed by Hitachi and its subsidiaries in Europe.
This puts it in the top 20 of Japanese employers in Europe, and if it really does add another 1,500 employees to its rail business in Europe as forecast, this will propel them into the top 10.
My current estimation (with many caveats) of the top 30 Japanese companies in Europe in terms of employee numbers is available below. Many of them have reached this size through large scale acquisitions (Fujitsu, Ricoh, Asahi Glass, NSG). They represent around 250,000 (minus Africa/Middle East employees) of the 437,000 or so employees JETRO estimates are employed by Japanese companies in Europe.
Top 30 Japanese companies in Europe 2021
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