Hitachi eyes investment plan with 500 billion yen per year in R&D

12 May

Hitachi, a Japanese manufacturer of electrical machinery, is looking to kick off a three-year investment plan from the 2016 fiscal year by investing up to 500 billion Japanese yen (US$4.17 billion) in research and development per year. The investment will focus on the development of robots, artificial intelligence (A.I.), and sensors.

According to a report by Nikkei, when speaking of the mid-term management plan from 2016-2018 fiscal years, Hitachi Chief Technology Officer Keiji Kojima said the percentage of R&D funding in total revenues will be raised from 3.7 percent in 2013 to 4-5 percent. Kojima is optimistic that the investment plan will increase the yearly revenues by 1.1 trillion yen.

Since the global economic downturn, many Japanese enterprises reduced their R&D cost to increase short-term profit. With the global situation recovering since 2010, research and development budgets have also gone up.

Kojima said his company is now expanding in other areas and focusing on combining IT technology and basic infrastructure, such as the railway system, water supply and energy systems. Hitachi will therefore increase its investment in A.I., sensors, robots and security management by three times. In the future, the company hopes to use such technology to monitor the railroad equipment and solar panels, as well as to collect information on consumer behaviors and analyze them. Other unsepcified applications are also being developed.

In addition, Hitachi plans to expand R&D staff by adding 2,600-3,000 employees. The staff increase is mainly for the development of its Global Center for Social Innovation, which is expected to help with sales in Europe, the U.S. and China.

(Photo courtesy of HITACHI)

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