1962: First Business Trip to the U.S.
Have Ambitious Dreams
From the time Kyocera was founded as a small company in Nishinokyo Haramachi, Inamori had a big dream. He passionately said, "Let's become No.1 in Haramachi. Once we achieve that, let's aim for No.1 in Nakagyo ward, and then in Kyoto. After Kyoto, we'll aim to be No.1 in Japan, and once we've achieved that let's become No.1 in the world."
As Inamori had been thinking about expanding the business overseas, he traveled to the U.S. for the first time in 1962 for a month-long trip. The exchange rate was 360 yen to one U.S. dollar, so the trip was a great financial burden to the young company, which had only been in existence for four years.
However, it was the first step toward the dream of expanding into overseas markets. During the trip, Kyocera's technologies were highly praised; however, it did not lead to any orders.
Inamori's strong, unrelenting desire to expand into overseas markets brought him another opportunity in 1964 when he traveled to Europe and the U.S. for sales calls. His energetic, tireless efforts gradually began to bear fruit, and Kyocera began to receive orders from overseas customers.
In 1969, during a time when it was witnessing steady growth in its exports, Kyocera incorporated its first subsidiary outside of Japan — Kyocera International, Inc. (KII). The semiconductor industry was about to take off in the U.S., and KII established its office in Sunnyvale, California — part of the nascent Silicon Valley where many semiconductor venture businesses were concentrated. Kyocera started receiving large volume orders from Silicon Valley manufacturers due in part to the hard work of the KII sales team, and Kyocera's successful development of multilayer packaging in 1969.
In 1971, KII began production in San Diego, California. In the beginning, the Japanese managers endured one hardship after another in an unfamiliar land and culture: production was slow to get on track; the language barrier impeded communication with local employees; and the differences in work practices between the Japanese and American employees caused friction. Due to prolonged deficits, the plant even faced threat of closure. However, the Japanese managers had earnest, altruistic attitudes and worked alongside local staff to solve problems. Over time, a strong bond formed between the managers and workers that transcended language and cultural differences. Production eventually started to run smoothly and get back on track.
Success in the U.S. prompted Kyocera to branch out and expand to Europe and Asia. Production facilities were established around the world, most notably in China. Kyocera has grown into a global enterprise currently consisting of over 180 subsidiaries and affiliated companies. The company has had ambitious dreams since the time it was founded and still a small company. The constant, unrelenting efforts to manifest that dream have resulted in Kyocera's growth into a globally renowned corporation.