Nikon Company was founded in 1917 and is three of Japan's foremost makers of optical equipment merged together in order to offer a full line of optical products during that time. The company was called Nippon Kogaku (Japan Optics) and began producing optical glass in 1918.
By 1932, Nippon Kogaku had designed its own camera lenses, the Nikkor brand. Nippon Kogaku was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1939. Nippon Kogaku expanded during the 1920s and 1930s. After World War II, Nippon Kogaku introducing the first camera in 1946 under the Nikon brand name. Nippon Kogaku’s Nikon brand cameras earned special attention for their high quality. Demand increased further when U.S. combat photographers covering the Korean War favored Nikon lenses, and photojournalists began asking Nippon Kogaku to make special lenses to fit their Leica cameras. By the mid-1960s photographers for Life, National Geographic, and Stern--Germany's largest-selling picture magazine--used Nikon 35-millimeter cameras. Nikon had been accepted as the professional standard, and advanced amateurs followed the example, helping Nikon cameras to make inroads into that market. Another reason for Nippon Kogaku’s success in the international market was its ties to the Mitsubishi keiretsu, its transfer agent. After World War II, the United States had broken up the zaibatsu-powerful Japanese business conglomerates such as Mitsubishi but the trading companies, banks and industrial concerns that had composed the zaibatsu continued to corporate. For Nippon Kogaku, its ties to Mitsubishi meant ready credit and exporting advantages. Nippon Kogaku also promoted its photographic equipment through what it called "photography culture," sponsoring photo contests and photo exhibits as well as establishing clubs that gave advice to amateur photographers.
In 1959, Nippon Kogaku brought the Nikon F SLR to market and improved it when other Japanese companies offered competing models. Leitz did not introduce its SLR until 1964. The company introduced new SLR cameras and an eight-millimeter movie camera during the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a new all-weather camera. By 1988, the company officially adopts the name Nikon Corporation. Some of the company's new product launches during the 1990s included the industry's first underwater autofocus SLR camera, which was introduced in 1992. The following year, the firm developed the world's first electro chromic sunglasses with changing color lenses. Nikon also created a new series of digital cameras, including the Coolpix line, which became available in 1997.
During 1998, the company's dependence on the semiconductor industry did not play in its favor. The semiconductor market as a whole weakened due in part to over saturation and falling prices. Nikon posted a net loss of ¥18.2 billion and revenues dropped by 18 percent over the previous year. The sale of steppers picked up in 1999, however, and the firm was able to secure a net profit of ¥7.8 billion. During 1999 and into the new century, Nikon restructured itself and adopted an in-house company system to align its group companies and make each one accountable for a certain level of sales and profits. The firm also adopted an executive officer management system, spun off various assets, reorganized its U.S. sales subsidiaries, and created holding company Nikon Holdings Europe B.V. in an effort to consolidate its European businesses. In March 2000, Nikon also launched "Vision Nikon 21," a series of strategic business goals that would extend into the first decade of 2000.
In 2002, the company launched a television advertising campaign for its Coolpix 2500 digital camera. Nikon Imaging (China) Co. Ltd. established as a new digital camera production base D100 consumer digital SLR camera also marketed. During 2007, Nikon scholarship program started to support Thai students. The total production of NIKKOR lenses for Nikon SLR cameras reached 50...