Sony Corporation is the electronics business unit and the parent company of the Sony Group (, Son Gurpu), which is engaged in business through its four operating components: electronics (AV, IT & communication products, semiconductors, video games, network services and medical business), motion pictures (movies and TV shows), music (record labels and music publishing) and financial services (banking and insurance). These make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. The group consists of Sony Corporation, Sony Pictures, Sony Mobile, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Music, Sony Financial Holdings and others.
Sony is among the semiconductor sales leaders and as of 2016, the fifth-largest television manufacturer in the world after Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, TCL and Hisense.
The company's current slogan is BE MOVED. Their former slogans were make.believe (20092014), like.no.other (20052009) and It's a Sony (19802002).
Sony has a weak tie to the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) keiretsu, the successor to the Mitsui keiretsu.
Sony began in the wake of World War II. In 1946, Masaru Ibuka started an electronics shop in a department store building in Tokyo. The company started with a capital of 190,000 and a total of eight employees. In May 1946, Ibuka was joined by Akio Morita to found a company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation). The company built Japan's first tape recorder, called the Type-G. In 1958, the company changed its name to "Sony".
When Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo was looking for a romanized name to use to market themselves, they strongly considered using their initials, TTK. The primary reason they did not is that the railway company Tokyo Kyuko was known as TTK. The company occasionally used the acronym "Totsuko" in Japan, but during his visit to the United States, Morita discovered that Americans had trouble pronouncing that name. Another early name that was tried out for a while was "Tokyo Teletech" until Akio Morita discovered that there was an American company already using Teletech as a brand name.
The name "Sony" was chosen for the brand as a mix of two words. One was the Latin word "sonus", which is the root of sonic and sound, and the other was "sonny", a common slang term used in 1950s America to call a young boy. In the 1950s Japan "sonny boys", was a loan word into Japanese which connoted smart and presentable young men, which Sony founders Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka considered themselves to be.
The first Sony-branded product, the TR-55 transistor radio, appeared in 1955 but the company name did not change to Sony until January 1958.
At the time of the change, it was extremely unusual for a Japanese company to use Roman letters to spell its name instead of writing it in kanji. The move was not without opposition: TTK's principal bank at the time, Mitsui, had strong feelings about the name. They pushed for a name such as Sony Electronic Industries, or Sony Teletech. Akio Morita was firm, however, as he did not want the company name tied to any particular industry. Eventually, both Ibuka and Mitsui Bank's chairman gave their approval.