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  4. A Quick Guide to Unicharm Step 1: Growth record and business overview

A Quick Guide to Unicharm
(Chapter 1: Growth record and business overview)

Growth record and business overview

Unicharm has grown continuously since it was founded 60 years ago

Unicharm began operations in 1961 by manufacturing and selling “wood wool cement boards,” which are a type of building material.

We subsequently began the manufacture and sale of sanitary napkins in 1963. Since then, we have developed a number of original technologies and products, and have continued to lead the industry as a pioneer in sanitary napkins. In the 1980s, we worked on diversifying our business operations and expanded into early childhood education, wedding services, resorts, and other areas.

The partner animal (pet) business we launched during this period has sustained our growth to this day. Since the 2000s, we have reorganized our business portfolio and sold several businesses, including our original building materials business. We are currently utilizing the processing and molding technology for nonwoven fabrics and absorbent materials that we cultivated in the field of sanitary napkins to expand into felds such as baby care products, healthcare products, and household products. Through these efforts, we have extended our range of activity as a company that supports the lives of those involved in childcare, nursing care, and housework. In anticipation of Japan’s maturing market, we have been aggressively promoting globalization since the 1980s, and we are presently expanding our business in about 80 countries and regions around the world.

Unicharm’s Corporate Culture Inherited from Its Founding From “Three Types of DNA” to “BOP-ship”

Unicharm, which has maintained sustainable growth, has nurtured a corporate culture and spirit called the “Three Types of DNA” that has been passed down ever since its founding. In recent years, our business activities have spread from Japan to the rest of Asia, as well as to the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Because the number of employees born overseas is increasing, we have begun rephrasing the “Three Types of DNA” as “BOP-ship” to make it easier for overseas employees to understand. The “Three Types of DNA” and “BOP-ship” are corporate values that support the basis of our activities, and are common values that each and every employee, including top managemet.

Supplying indispensable products to a wide range of customers in many regions worldwide

Figure Figure

Unicharm aims to address social issues by providing new value through the addition of various services to high value-added products that utilize our nonwoven fabric and absorbent material processing and molding technology. To do this, we channel management resources into our nonwoven fabric and absorbent material businesses, allowing us to launch products that accurately meet customer needs ahead of rivals, thanks to our position as a specialist manufacturer. Backed by powerful technical capabilities, we supply a balanced range of products for partner animal (pet) owners and people of all ages – from babies to the elderly – limiting our exposure to demographic changes and supporting Unicharm’s sustained growth.

A presence in roughly 80 countries and regions worldwide

Figure Figure

Unicharm has expanded its business globally and now has a presence in around 80 countries and regions worldwide. We divide our markets into two main types based on the business model we use:direct market participation and technical support.

We are investing heavily in regions with the potential for long-term growth, such as Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and South America. In those regions, we are setting up our own manufacturing and sales operations and transferring management authority to local subsidiaries, giving us the ability to respond rapidly to changes in local consumer needs. By contrast, in the large but maturing markets of North America and Europe, we are generating stable earnings by minimizing our investment outlay through technology licensing agreements with local partners. In addition, we are rapidly expanding our sales areas overseas by building strong networks with leading wholesalers in local markets and promoting early uptake of our products.

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