TOKYO -- In 1978, when Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping visited a factory belonging to what is now Panasonic Corp. in Osaka, he made Chairman Konosuke Matsushita an offer he couldn't refuse.
That year, China's economy lay in ruins following the Cultural Revolution. But Deng had an idea. Turning to Matsushita, his guide on the tour, he said: "You are called the god of management. Will you help us modernize our economy?"