Radio Corporation of America (RCA) is a familiar name to anyone over 40.

The RCA brand is one of the oldest and well-known brands in the consumer electronics industry. The company was founded as a subsidiary of General Electric (GE) in 1919, and was successful with radios, TVs and VCRs.

I own a couple of RCA’s radios made during 1950’s; I use them to jog my memory when I am studying historical electronics technologies. They employed leading edge technologies such as miniature vacuum tubes and double sided printed circuit boards with through holes. RCA products were considered high end and reliable, and the American consumer was happy to pay more money for high quality products during that time. Unfortunately, the company was not successful during the 1970s when competition heated up with Japanese electronics companies. Business and financial conditions led to RCA’s takeover by GE in 1986, and its subsequent break up. RCA was no longer marketing and manufacturing consumer electronics.

I wrote about the Japanese electronics brands Sharp and Sanyo in last week’s Newsletter, and the same trend seems to be happening in America. I noticed several audio devices with RCA’s name in retail stores. The description on the packaging does not clearly state they are American products, but the exact RCA logo was printed on the box. So, I put my fingers on the keyboard, and searched the internet for any electronics product with the RCA logo. I found tablets, PCs, flat TVs, antennas and more. Some of these products are stamped with the RCA logo and the GE logo. Seems confusing to me…. I thought they were no longer in business?

One of my business associates who is an historical buff for the electronics industry cleared up my confusion. The brand name RCA was sold to a Chinese company after GE broke up the company. The RCA trademark is owned by Technicolor SA. Though it generally no longer uses the brand directly, Technicolor SA licensed the RCA name to other companies for use on various products. During the late 20th Century, many Chinese companies flooded the consumer electronics market with knock off products. These products are illegal in the global markets, but most of the domestic consumers don’t care. These products overwhelmed the American and Japanese retail markets through their lower prices. The Chinese companies were successful in their domestic market, but it started to get tough to smuggle these brands into American markets.

I think these Chinese companies changed strategies to enter the lucrative American market. They purchased American and Japanese brand names from companies that are no longer in business for pennies on the dollar. They manufacture the products, slap on the logo, and sell them at a very reasonable price. They produce their own products with American or Japanese brand names, and merchandise them in retail stores throughout the US.

Nowadays, there are many kinds of electronics products in the American market that are marked with a Japanese brand name, but they are made in China or Thailand. Some American brand named products are made by Taiwanese EMS in China and some Taiwanese brand products are made in the U.S. It’s tough to tell the difference, does it matter as long as it works?

Dominique K. Numakura, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DKN Research, dknresearch.com

DKN Research Newsletter #1724, August 27th, 2017 (English Edition)(Micro Electronics & Packaging)

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Headlines of the Week (contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information of the news)

1. TIT has codeveloped a new three-metal alloy generation process at one nanometer particle. The Cu/Pt/Au nano particle has extremely high activity as a catalyst of oxidation.

2. Showa Denko started supplying hydrogen gas generated from scrapped plastic for the fuel cell generators of the automobiles.

3. Asahi Denka started supplying ultra-thin double-sided copper laminates with polyimide films down to 0.2 micron thick conductor layers for thin flexible circuits.

4. Tohoku University codeveloped a new AI inspection method for the concrete buildings with AIST. The new system can detect small cracks down to 0.2 mm wide.

5. NEC started the engineering service of the smart energy solution for electric power suppliers in the US market.

6. NTT and KDDI succeeded to conduct 118.5 Tb/sec. data transfer using multi-core optical fiber cable.

7. Canon cofounded a new JV with IHI and Shimiz Construction to develop the next generation small size rocket system for emerging aerospace business.

8. Denso developed a new 24GHz band radar system for the safety of the automobiles. It detects the other cars in the dead angles.

9. Hitachi started the large scale field test in India for the micro grid system of the solar power generation to stabilize the power supply.

10. AIST developed an analyzing method for the charging and discharging process of the lithium ion batteries using soft X-ray spectrum.

11. RIKEN succeeded to confirm the quantum conversion process between optical and electric current in the crystal of organic tetrathiafulvalene-pchioranil.

12. SMM will build a new pilot plant of nickel oxide powder for the electrodes of the fuel cell devices.

13. Taiyo Yuden commercialized the world smallest Bluetooth 5 module “EYSHSNZWZ” with an antenna. Size: 3.25 x 8.55 x 0.9mm

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