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Panasonic builds a shrine to its 'god of management' in Beijing

Museum will put founder Konosuke Matsushita's thought on display

Konosuke Matsushita's statue stands outside his museum in Osaka. The Panasonic founder met with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping 40 years ago to discuss the company's future in China. (Photo by Kaoru Osawa)

BEIJING -- Panasonic will open a museum here for founder Konosuke Matsushita this May to mark the 40th anniversary of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's trip to a Japanese facility of the electronics multinational.

In addition to product displays, the facility will showcase management and life principles of Matsushita, who was known in Japan as the "god of management." He died in 1989 at age 94. The original Konosuke Matsushita Museum is part of the Panasonic Museum in Osaka, which opened in March for the company's centennial.

"We want to be the best partner for Chinese society," said Sadaaki Yokoo, Panasonic's regional head for China and Northeast Asia, in a news conference Thursday.

Deng visited Japan in 1978 under a push to open up his country's economy, meeting with Matsushita to discuss Panasonic's future in China. The Japanese company started making picture tubes through a joint venture at its first Chinese factory in June 1989 -- the same month as the Tiananmen Square incident.

The museum will sit on the grounds of that since-closed factory. It will operate for about three years and serve as a space for communicating with customers, among other uses.

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