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Ajinomoto is comfortable having operations that span everything from powdered coffee to contract drug manufacturing to chip materials. (Nikkei montage/Rie Ishii/Ken Kobayashi)
Business Spotlight

Century-old food giant Ajinomoto surprise COVID tech boom winner

Seasoning maker's resurgence illustrates how Japan Inc. adapts to change

MITSURU OBE, Nikkei Asia chief business news correspondent | Japan

TOKYO/TAIPEI -- Ajinomoto, the 112-year-old Japanese food maker most famous for its monosodium glutamate seasoning, has emerged as a surprising beneficiary of the upheaval caused by the pandemic.

While its spices and sauces have struggled as lockdowns devastate the restaurant industry, the company's unexpected sideline as a supplier of a high-tech film for the computer chip industry has been booming -- helping Ajinomoto report a record operating profit last quarter.

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