Only three Japanese tech companies rank among the 300 highest-grossing publicly traded companies worldwide, with none breaking the top 100 barrier. While business conglomerate Hitachi and entertainment company Sony come close with trailing twelve-month revenues of $84 billion and $81 billion, respectively, some of the biggest household names in consumer electronics, appliances, and information technology can't cash in on the island nation's reputation for technological advancement.
As our chart based on data aggregated by Companies Market Cap shows, only three companies in the tech sector could generate revenues of more than $50 billion from the final quarter of 2021 to September 2022. Joining Sony and Hitachi is electronics conglomerate Panasonic with a revenue of $61 billion in the corresponding timeframe. Interestingly, most of the highest-earning companies in this sector like Canon, Fujitsu, and Toshiba have a highly diversified product range encompassing anything from military hardware to refrigerators. The single-purpose company Nintendo, the creators of iconic franchises such as Mario, Pokémon or The Legend of Zelda, falls short of even the top 500 club with its revenue of $14 billion, even though it fares better than most of its Western competitors like Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard King or Take-Two Interactive.
The ranking of entertainment, consumer electronics, and electronics manufacturing conglomerates in comparison with other Asian powerhouses like Tencent, Samsung or Alibaba proves wrong the long-running assumption of Japan being one of the most dominant forces in tech. This era of presumed dominance ended with the collapse of the asset price bubble in 1991. The following years, dubbed by experts as the Lost Decade or even Lost Decades continuing from the 1990s into the 2010s, were marked by stagnating GDP and average real growth rate. One branch that managed to come away relatively unscathed is the automobile industry. Despite intense competition from Germany and China, in particular, seven of the 20 highest-earning car makers are based in Japan. Toyota, for example, comes in second behind EV manufacturer Tesla with trailing twelve-month revenues of $260 billion.