Panasonic – a Global Japanese Company Where Diverse Talent Thrives

Jan 27, 2023

Meet Our People and Partners / Feature Story


Panasonic – a Global Japanese Company Where Diverse Talent Thrives

How Panasonic actively welcomes employees from diverse backgrounds and leverages their “collective wisdom”

Although Panasonic has operations in more than 60 countries, being a truly “global” company for us is more about just our business footprint. It means actively leveraging the diverse experience and skills of personnel from many different countries in the development of our products as we seek to understand and address the needs of the global market.

It also means more of a focus on individual talent and potential, and encouraging all employees regardless of their background or seniority to openly voice their opinions or suggest new ways of working.

Accordingly, Panasonic is striving to appeal to bright young people who evaluate prospective employers additionally in terms of their track record and stance on issues such as gender equality, sustainability and the environment. To be a company that is rewarding to work for—one that champions what our own employees referred to in a recent survey as “diversity, equity and inclusion.” 

Malaysian Hew Zhi Xin, fulfilling a key product planning and development role in Panasonic Housing Solution’s HQ

As part of its strategy to achieve this, Panasonic in Japan has assigned a number of non-Japanese staff to key roles across our organization here. Hew Zhi Xin, who was born and grew up in Malaysia, works in Panasonic Housing Solution’s Osaka head office, where she is in charge of product planning and development of a key technology that assists mobility and accessibility in the COVID era—touchless automatic doors.

Photo: Hew Zhi Xin shows off the contactless automatic doors she and her team have worked on

Hew Zhi Xin shows off the contactless automatic doors she and her team have worked on

Zhi Xin became interested in Japan and Japanese culture from a young age through her interest in anime cartoons. During her college years, she started to think seriously about working in Japan. From among the various companies she approached, she says she was attracted to Panasonic by what she saw as its sincerity and open culture, and decided to apply for a Panasonic scholarship. During a recent interview, Zhi Xin reflected on her experience of working here.

Zhi Xin’s reflections on her working life in Panasonic

“When I first joined a group discussion in Panasonic, I hesitated to express my opinions in case they were different from the way Japanese people think. But when I mentioned this to my supervisor, he told me I should speak up, and that it’s valuable for a company like Panasonic to be exposed to opinions that differ from those of Japanese people.” 

She adds, “At that moment, I felt that I could work at Panasonic with peace of mind because its corporate culture respects diversity of opinion.”

Photo: Panasonic scholarship students after a zipline experience at Biwako Valley in Japan

Panasonic scholarship students after a zipline experience at Biwako Valley in Japan

Zhi Xin leverages her overseas background and experience to help the company’s development teams gain insights into the various ways its products might be used in other countries, and the functionality they might therefore need. “In addition to Japanese, I use my other language skills, Malay, Mandarin and English, to liaise with overseas offices and partners and to incorporate overseas perspectives and insights into the development of new products.”

But, Zhi Xin explains, she is not working on her own in these endeavors. “There is a group of Chinese-speaking employees across different divisions in Panasonic Japan, including Mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese who speak Chinese. In this community, we chat and exchange information and interact with each other.”

As an example of overseas perspectives that she has helped to provide, Zhi Xin explained how she researched market trends and the specific requirements for automatic doors used in China. The resulting insights she provided in Japan are helping the company decide how it can best serve the specific needs of that market. 

Photo: Hew Zhi Xin discusses potential product enhancements with her manager

Hew Zhi Xin discusses potential product enhancements with her manager

Zhi Xin does not view the flow of such insights as a one-way process; she also sees areas where Japan’s expertise can be leveraged overseas—for example, the country’s experience of dealing with an aging society. “I would like to utilize Japan’s expertise in this area to create products that can contribute to barrier-free housing and public facilities in other countries, so that people everywhere can live more comfortably and safely,” she explains.

Zhi Xin offers a final word of advice to those considering to follow in her footsteps.

“Working in Japan is a very valuable experience, since you can learn about the Japanese working style and culture, and broaden your horizons. You will have the opportunity to become a bridge between your home country and Japan and contribute to the development of both.”

Photo: Hew Zhi Xin

Panasonic will continue to strive to be a company where people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures can contribute and thrive. Our focus on diversity, equity and inclusion is allowing us to leverage the collective wisdom of talented people from around the world, deepen our understanding of overseas markets, and enhance our competitiveness. We are looking forward to welcoming many more people from overseas to our operations in Japan! 

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