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Sony celebrates 60th anniversary in Europe: From Switzerland and beyond

Communiqué de presse   •   déc 16, 2020 10:00 CET


Precisely 60 years ago, Sony set up its first European company in Switzerland. This step marked the beginning of the technology and entertainment company’s success story from Japan throughout Europe. To this day, Sony is more than ever regarded as an industry-leading pioneer for innovations.

Zurich, 16. December 2020. Almost fifteen years after Sony was founded in Tokyo, it set up its first European legal entity under Director Mr. M. Komatsu in Zug, Switzerland, on 16. December 1960. Today, Sony celeberates a success story of 60 years in Europe.

„Sony marked a significant milestone by being one of the first technology companies from Japan to establish a presence in Europe, and has evolved as a global brand achieving 60 years of success in Europe. This is thanks to the dedicated commitment of our employees, and to the warm support from our customers and partners”, says Hideyuki Furumi, President of Sony Europe B.V. “We look to further building on our future in Europe by continuing to deliver innovations that offer emotionally compelling experiences and connect people, always commited to exceptional quality.” This pioneering step was followed by the establishment of further branches in Europe. Today Sony Europe alone has ten branches overseeing the electronics & products solutions business across Europe, not to mention its sister companies.

Adrian Price-Hunt, Country Head of Switzerland and Austria at Sony Europe, continues: “We are proud that Sony’s expansion into the European market started in Switzerland – as our first site in Europe. Over the last 60 years Sony has continuously invested in the Swiss market and is continuing its investment in pioneering innovations with the founding of Sony AI in April 2020 and its support of local Swiss start-up e.g. Insightness[1]. Sony is considered a innovator in this regard with many products and globally unparalleled innovations that further reinforce the company’s pioneering spirit.”

An innovative pioneer from the very beginning

Sony's success story continues to be woven through success stories of its products, which have been recognised as novelties and innovations through the decades. “Our headphones, televisions or cameras accompany the everyday lives of countless people. State-of-the-art technology, attractive design and consistently high quality are features that distinguish Sony and form the basis for our future achievements”, says Price-Hunt.

Enjoying music at the highest level

Looking back to the initial days, Sony’s first bestseller was the genuine innovation ICR-200– a miniature radio the size of a matchbox, which promised up to 24 hours of music entertainment only with batteries. This was followed by another revolution which has gained cult status among a whole generation, WALKMAN® portable stereo TPS-L2. The introduction of portable cassette player marked the turning point for music lovers all over the world in 1979, as it was now possible to enjoy music in a compact format anytime and anywhere. With the introduction of the first WALKMAN®, Sony met the pulse of its time which resulted in millions of units of the latest models being sold in Europe to date. Last year WALKMAN® celebrated its 40th birthday with a limited edition and continues on the legacy with its latest models NW-ZX507 and NW-A105 in an stylish, modern design.

From early on it was one of Sony's goals to provide music lovers with an immersive music experience. Already in 1968 Sony launched its first stereo headphones DR-4A with noise isolation. Followed by industry’s first neckband headphones MDR-G61 in 1997, a new style of outdoor listening created certainly looks stylish an are more comfortable than in-hear headphones.

Sony continued its pursuit for best quality in audio and in 2008, introduced MDR-NC500D, the world's first headphone with digital noise reduction, that enabled to reduce up to 99% of ambient noise. Sony continues to enhance its industry leading Noise Cancelling headphone family with the launch of truly wireless model WF-1000XM3, and this year with the fourth generation Sony's most successful over-ear noise-cancelling wireless headphones, WH-1000XM4. With 360 Reality Audio, Sony also offers a new and unique, immersive music experience that enables you to enjoy music as if you were in the front row of your favourite musicians’ live.

Always one step ahead in television technologies

In the 1960s, television had its great breakthrough in Europe. Always keeping pace with the time, Sony had quickly embraced the transitor and launched TV8-301, the world’s first direct-viewportable transitor television. A further revolutionary step was the introduction of colour television, where Sony set a major milestone by launching the Trinitron TV in 1968. The same year, engineers managed to design a 100-inch model with flat screen technology. A further breakthrough succeeded in 2012 with unveiling one of the first 4K Ultra-HD TVs. Under the product brand BRAVIA ("Best Resolution Audio Visual Integrated Architecture"), introduced in 2005, Sony upholds the highest standard in LCD and OLED TVs, such as with its flagship models XH95 and AG9. Sony continues its commitment to create forward-thinking new TVs that deliver the best possible experience with outstanding picture and sound technologies true to the creator’s intent, into every living room. Our latest development includes the compact 48 inch 4K HDR OLED TV, 48A9, as well as our second generation 8K TV, ZH8 series.

Capturing unique moments in the highest quality

Cameras not only document, they also make history - Sony’s Mavica had a major influence on the development of magnetic video camera in 1988, promoted as a still video camera for the digital age. With the later model MVC-FD5, it was the first camera to store image files in a computer-readable format on a standard computer medium. A fact that seems quite banal today, but which constituted an immense progress in 1997: Cables and converters were used to transfer the recorded image file. Thereby, the device set the foundation for today's digital cameras.

Today, Sony’s award winning camera innovations, such as its interchangeable lens camera Alpha series, is highly appreciated and praised by photo enthusiasts and professionals alike for its technological advances. Sony continues to empower photographers and videographers with innovative new cameras, and recently introduced ZV-1, a camera catering to the needs of vloggers. Sony has continued to pionner the mirrorless camera market with its E-Mount camera range, and now with the launch of Alpha 7S III, Sony has again achieved a further milestone in camera technology that takes videography to a new level.

Sony AI - Unleash Human Imagination and Creativity with AI

Sony not only leads in product innovations, but has world-class research and development expertise. Already in 1960, one of Sony’s Founders, Masaru Ibuka envisioned AI as the future of electronics[2]. 60 years later, in April 2020 Sony AI was established as an independent subsidiary of the Sony Group. It was the first European branch set up in Zurich in addition to its headquarters in Japan and the branch in the US, marking a milestone once again for Sony in Switzerland. Sony AI is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to unleash the human imagination and creativity with artificial intelligence. Working under Sony's Purpose to “fill the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology”, Sony AI looks to drive developments in all existing as well as new areas of business.

The European branch of Sony AI is currently working on combining new sensor technologies developed by Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation with new machine learning methods and robot actuators. "If we succeed in exploiting the full potential of these sensors by developing new learning and control algorithms as well as the computer hardware to correctly process the sensor data, I believe that the resulting systems will open up new applications in areas such as factory automation, autonomous driving or drones", explains Peter Duerr, Director of Sony AI Zurich. By offering the opportunity to contribute to such remarkable projects, Sony in Europe is in the position to attract the world's most talented professionals.


Selected milestones from Sony in Europe:

1960 Set up of Sony Overseas S.A. in Zug/Switzerland
1960 Launch of TV8-301,the world’s first direct-view portable transitor television
1972 Introduction of first Trinitron-PAL colour TV for Europe
1979 First generation WALKMAN® – world’s first portable stereo music player
1982 World’s first CD-Player (CDP-101)
1985 First camcorder for recording on standard 8 mm videotape (CCD-V8)
1988 First magnetic video camera MAVICA (MVC-C1) for consumers
1995 Introduction of PlayStation® to the European market
1995 Sony’s first commercial headphones with Noise Cancelling (MDR-NC10)
1999 First generation of entertainment robot AIBO (ERS-110)
2006 Introduction of Alpha digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR-A100) with A-mount system supporting multiple lenses
2008 World’s first digital NC headphones (MDR-NC500D) with Noise Cancellation up to 99 percent
2012 Unveiling of Sony’s first 4K Ultra HD-TV
2016 Introduction of MDR-1000X, wireless headband Noise Cancelling headphones
2019 Introduction of Sony’s first 8K TV (ZG9)
2020 Presentation of prototype vehicle from the initiative „VISION-S“
2020 Set up of Sony AI in Zurich/Switzerland



[1] Currently Sony Advanced Visual Sensing AG. For more information see:

[2] See the full video:


Présentation de l’entreprise

Sony Corporation est un leader dans la fabrication de produits pour consommateurs et utilisateurs professionnels, qui intervient dans les domaines audio, vidéo, photo, des jeux, de la communication, d'éléments clés et de la technologie de l'information. Couvrant les domaines d'activités de la musique, du cinéma, du divertissement sur ordinateur et du Web, Sony bénéficie d'une position unique pour agir comme leader mondial dans l'électronique et le divertissement. Sur l'exercice clos le 31 mars 2018, Sony a enregistré un chiffre d'affaires annuel consolidé d'environ 77 milliards de dollars US. Site Internet global de Sony: