Digital Cameras

Next I am going to look at Digital Cameras.  I know that a number of big players here are also involved in other electronic products but there seem to be a fair number of brands that I have not seen in any other contexts.

So, the digital camera market is dominated by Japanese companies.  Apart from Kodak and Samsung, all the brands in our top 10 originate from various different companies in Japan (mostly Tokyo).  One surprise is the presence of the Mitsubishi Corp, the owner of Nikon.  There are no European groups at all in this list.


This came as a bit of a surprise to me – the biggest player in the digital camera market is the Japanese giant Mitsubishi.  As well as owning the Nikon brand, the group has its fingers in many other pies including brewing, cars, shipping, trading, oil and plastic.  Worldwide, it employs over 350,000 people.  Nikon also makes binoculars and microscopes.


The Korean conglomerate appears in this list too.  There are not many electronic pies that it does not have some fingers in.  Although the second largest company on our list here, Samsung is not really a famous name in the world of the digital camera.


The first of our Japanese electronics specialists is Panasonic and much like Samsung they are a general electronics company who don’t really have much of a reputation in the digital camera market.  Unlike the next company on our list…


Sony is another large Japanese electronics company that is found on a few other lists here.  The Sony Cybershot digital camera is well regarded within the industry and is making a splash in this market.


Canon is a publicly listed Japanese company that makes cameras, camcorders, printers and photocopiers.  It has been in the digital camera business since the 1980′s and is the largest company in this list that is produces more specific optical equipment.


Like Canon, Fujifilm is another Japanese imaging company who sell cameras, photography chemicals and printers.  It is based in Tokyo and employs over 35,000 people.


Ricoh is another Tokyo based company specialising in photography equipment and printers.  In fact, it is one of the largest copier manufacturer in the world.  The group also bought out the digital camera arm of Pentax and has retained that brand.  It employs over 105,000 people worldwide.


Olympus is yet another Japanese optics company.  As well as digital cameras, they also produce microscopes, thermometers and endoscopes.  Indeed they are they world leader in endoscope sales.  They have recently suffered a loss cover-up scandal that has decimated their share price.

Eastman Kodak

Kodak is the only non-Asian company on this list and is also one of the smallest.  Nonetheless this US group employ over 17,000 people and are a famous name in the world of photography.  In recent times, however, Kodak has struggled somewhat with the change to Digital technology and has not made a profit since 2007.


Casio is another Japanese company and is the smallest on our list.  Although it does make digital cameras, it is probably better known for its watches and calculators.

Mobile Phones

Next up, mobile phones.  This is a high-tech, fast moving industry.  We all know about Apple’s i-phone and the Samsung Galaxy but which is the biggest company, and who else is behind the phones that we use everyday?

So, Samsung is top dog by parent company revenue, followed by Apple.  But who would have thought Google was a major player in mobile phone manufacturing through their Motorola subsidiary?


Samsung is a huge Korean conglomerate and is involved in everything from ship building to theme parks, advertising to mobile phones. The revenues of the company are larger than the GDP of most countries. The Galaxy is now the best selling smart phone on the market and continues to take market share away from the i-phone.


Apple is a large American multinational selling consumer electronics.  It started by selling computers but has moved on to many other products.  They are considered an innovative company and have become very successful in recent years.  Their i-phone is probably responsible for the popularity that smart phones experience today.


Panasonic is a large Japanese electronics company that started life selling lamp sockets.  It is quite a minor player in the mobile phone market, making most of its revenue in other areas.

LG Corp

LG is another large South Korean company and makes electronics, chemicals and telecom products.  Their smart phone is not one of the market leaders but they are pushing for more of the smart phone market.


Sony is a large Japanese corporation who makes a large array of different electronic products.  After buying out Ericsson in their mobile phone joint venture, Sony are now on their way to becoming a big player in the mobile phone market.


Nokia is a company focused on making mobile communication technology and is the first company on our list based in Europe (Finland).  For a long time Nokia was the most popular mobile phone brand but has declined in popularity with the advent of the Smart phone and has not been able to adapt as quickly as some other companies like Samsung and Apple.  They do now have a fairly well regarded smart phone available, however.


This was the biggest surprise for me on the list.  Google is no longer just a search engine and after the purchase of Motorola Mobility now makes its own mobile phones, as well as owning the Android platform on which many smart phones operate.


Huawei is a Chinese corporation owned by their employees.  It is rapidly expanding into Western markets and currently has a smart phone available in the UK.  The company has been involved in some controversy involving the treatment of staff in manufacturing sectors and some security issues.


Alcatel is the second European company on this list and is based in Paris, France.  Alcatel mobile phones are actually a joint venture between Alcatel-Lucent and TCL Communications of China.  Alcatel now have a number of smart phones and tablets on the market but are very much a niche brand in the UK.

Research in Motion

RIM is a Canadian manufacturer of mobile phones and their Blackberry brand is particularly popular in the business market.  In recent times, RIM have found going quite tough with more competition and have lost their way somewhat.  With a change of management, they hope to gain back some of their lost market share.


ZTE is a Chinese telecoms company.  Although I had not heard of it today, and it has a small market in the UK it is actually a major mobile phone player globally with most of its revenues coming from developing countries.


HTC is a Taiwanese company that makes Smart Phones and Tablets.  It is the smallest company by revenue on our list but it has carved out a decent niche for itself as being a quality provider of mobile phones.

Supermarket Brands

The first set of brands I am going to look at are supermarkets and convenience stores.  Although dominated in the UK by Tesco and Asda, are those the largest companies?  Are they British?

So, the two giants, Asda and Tesco are indeed the largest two companies selling groceries in the UK but the next few spots are taken up by the budget retailers from Europe before the British focused supermarkets come in.


Walmart is an American family owned supermarket business and is the largest supermarket chain in the world.  It also holds the distinction of being the biggest employer in the world and operates in 15 different countries but is not always successful and in Germany it had to pull out of the market after fierce competition.

Asda was bought by Walmart in 1999 and since that time has risen to become the second largest supermarket in the UK, after Tesco.  Asda’s main selling point is focused on cost and is seen as a budget option.


Tesco is a British company traded on the London Stock exchange.  It is the third largest retailer in the world and is the market leader in the UK.  It has stores in 14 different countries which have varying degrees of success.

As well as groceries, Tesco also sells many other goods such as electronics, clothing and toys as well as offering insurance and banking.


Aldi is a German grocery store who is positioned very much in the budget end of the market.  They are active in 17 different countries and have many thousands of stores.


Lidl is another German discount retailer, in a similar mold to Aldi.  It is owned by the Schwartz family and has stores in 26 countries around Europe


Spar is a Dutch retailer that focuses on smaller grocery stores.  It operates in 35 countries from Europe, Africa and Asia.


Sainsbury is a UK publicly listed company that is now about a quarter owned by the Qatar royal family.  It has the third largest grocery market share in the UK but is not active in any other countries.  It has both large supermarkets and smaller convenience stores and also has a bank and supplies energy through British Gas.


Morrisons is a UK public listed supermarket and is the 4th largest by market share.  It has traditionally been based in the North of the country but is increasingly expanding southwards.  Traditionally it has shunned smaller convenience stores but has now started opening some after purchasing the stores from Co-Op.  It does not operate outside of the UK


The Co-op is a consumer co-operative that is run by its members.  As well as retail, the group is also involved in travel and banking.  The group are very big on ethical considerations and try to operate in an ethical and responsible way.  They have no stores outside the UK.

Marks & Spencer

M&S is another publicly listed UK company and as well as groceries, is also a department store.  It has both supermarkets and the smaller convenience store format and is particularly prevalent in stations.  It tends to have more higher end products than most of the other supermarkets on this list.

M&S has a small number of stores in a diverse 41 different countries.

John Lewis

John Lewis partnerships, an employee owned business owns the Waitrose supermarket chain.  Like M&S, Waitrose’s products tend to be rather higher quality than many of the other supermarkets.  Waitrose only has stores in the UK but it does have a licencing agreement with Spinneys in Dubai.


Murgrave is an Irish food wholesaler, and is in fact the largest private company in Ireland by Turnover.  It also owns convenience store brands and has stores in Ireland, UK and Spain.   In the UK, the company owns Budgens and Londis.


Until recently Iceland was owned by failed Icelandic bank Baugur but has now been taken private by a consortium of businessmen.  It focuses on frozen food and now has some stores outside the UK.


Nisa is a co-operative of independent retailers in the UK and owns convenience store brands Nisa and Costcutter.

Farm Foods

Farm Foods is a UK grocery store chain that specialises in frozen food.  It has a few hundred stores, all in the UK.