Ricoh’s origins date to a decision of the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research to commercialize the fruits of its R&D by setting up Rikagaku Kogyo. In 1936, Rikagaku Kogyo established Riken Kankoshi Co., Ltd. (renamed Riken Optical Co., Ltd., in 1938, and Ricoh Company, Ltd., in 1963), to manufacture and sell sensitized paper. The Company started its camera business in 1937. In 1950, it created Japan’s first mass production structure for cameras, driving their popularity among consumers. The company entered the business machine field in 1955 by launching the Ricopy 101.
In 1974, Ricoh launched the RIFAX 600S, the world’s first high-speed office facsimile machine. In 1977, we coined the acronym OA, for office automation. During the 1980s, we extended our office productivity support by rolling out a lineup that included computers and word processors, optical filing systems, and laser printers.
In 1987, we pioneered the multifunctional digital copier for the office with the IMAGIO 320. In 1996, we helped popularize digital models by launching the imagio MF200, a compact and highly affordable copier. We thereafter released networkable and color offerings. We reinforced our overseas production structure, notably by establishing Ricoh Asia Industry (Shenzhen) Ltd. We broadened our international sales network in 1995, acquiring Savin Corporation and Gestetner Holdings PLC in the process.
Introducing the imagio MF200 (1996)
This model was an instant hit among small and medium-sized enterprises. It fueled the spread of digital copiers in Japan and abroad, propelling digital models to more than 50% of Ricoh's shipments of copiers.
Ricoh strengthened its overseas sales network to bolster its solutions capabilities. We acquired the European operations of Danka Business Systems PLC in 2006 and bought IKON Office Solutions, Inc., in 2008 to build a global sales support structure.
We have reinforced our environmental and corporate social responsibility program since the start of the millennium. In 2002, for example, we were the second Japanese company to participate in the Global Compact of the United Nations. In 2003, our efforts earned us the World Environment Center Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development, making us the first enterprise from Asia to receive such an honor.
IKON comes on board (2008)
We have made several key acquisitions since the 1990s to strengthen our global sales structure. In November 2008, for example, we bought IKON Office Solutions, an independent office equipment distributor with a sales and service network focused on the European and American markets. IKON has solid relationships with many Fortune 500 companies. Other core strengths are printing services and production printing. IKON has enabled the Ricoh Group to enhance its imaging solutions sales and services in Europe as well as in the United States.