Pioneer Corporation (パイオニア株式会社, Paionia Kabushiki-gaisha), commonly referred to as Pioneer, is a Japanese multinational corporation based in Tokyo, that specializes in digital entertainment products. The company was founded by Nozomu Matsumoto on January 1, 1938 in Tokyo as a radio and speaker repair shop. Its current president is Shiro Yahara.

Pioneer Corporation
Native name
Paionia kabushiki gaisha
Company typePrivate KK
IndustryConsumer electronics
Founded1 January 1938; 86 years ago (1938-01-01) in Tokyo, Japan
FounderNozomu Matsumoto
Headquarters28-8, Honkomagome 2-chome, Bunkyō, Tokyo 113-0021,
Key people
Shiro Yahara[1]
ProductsCar audio and automotive navigation systems, Televisions (CRT Lens and Plasma, former product), PC DVD drives including PC DVD recorders, "set-top" DVD players and DVD recorders, Misc. DJ equipment
RevenueDecrease ¥365,417 million Yen (2018)[2]
Decrease ¥1,194 million Yen (2017)
Decrease ¥−7,123 million Yen (2017)
Number of employees
16,763 (2017)
WebsitePioneer Corporation (Japan)
Pioneer global network

Pioneer played a role in the development of interactive cable TV, the LaserDisc player, the first automotive Compact Disc player, the first detachable face car stereo, Supertuner technology, DVD and DVD recording, the first AV receiver with Dolby Digital, plasma display (with the last 2 years of plasma models being branded as Kuro, lauded for their outstanding black levels) and Organic LED display (OLED). The company works with optical disc and display technology and software products and is also a manufacturer. BMW, Volkswagen Group and Daimler AG of Germany jointly acquired a 3% ownership stake in Pioneer through a joint venture company called Here B.V. Most of Pioneer's shares are held by Mitsubishi.

In March 2010, Pioneer stopped producing televisions as announced on 12 February 2009.[3] On June 25, 2009, Sharp Corporation agreed to form a joint venture on their optical business to be called Pioneer Digital Design and Manufacturing Corporation.[4] In September 2014, Pioneer agreed to sell Pioneer Home Electronics (Home A/V) to Onkyo, and in March 2015, Pioneer sold its DJ equipment business division to KKR, which resulted in the establishment of Pioneer DJ as a separate entity, independent of Pioneer. In June 2021, Voxx International announced that it had finalized a licensing agreement with the Pioneer and Pioneer Elite brands "for all markets, except China" as part of their acquisition of Onkyo.[5]

Timeline edit

  • 1937: Pioneer's founder, Nozomu Matsumoto develops the A-8 dynamic speaker.[6]
  • January 1938: Fukuin Shokai Denki Seisakusho (precursor of Pioneer) is founded in Tokyo.
  • May 1947: Fukuin Denki is incorporated.
  • December 1953: Hi-Fi Speaker PE-8 introduced.
  • June 1961: Company name changed to Pioneer Electronic Corporation.
  • October 1961: Shares are listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Second Section.
  • June 1962: Introduces the world's first separate stereo system.[6]
  • March 1966: Establishes sales companies in Europe and the U.S.
  • February 1968: Shares are listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange First Section.
  • April 1968: Shares are listed on the Osaka Securities Exchange.
  • February 1969: Shares are listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange (now Euronext Amsterdam). U.S. GAAP consolidated financial reporting starts
  • November 11, 1970: Establishes Warner Bros.-Pioneer Corporation with Warner Bros. Records and Watanabe Productions, becoming a new Japanese distributor of Warner Bros. Records releases.
  • August 1971: Introduces the HiPac cartridge format
  • 1972: Warner Bros.-Pioneer Corp. changes its name to Warner-Pioneer Corporation and extends its distribution to catalogs of Atlantic Records, Reprise Records, Elektra Records and Asylum Records, along with other labels owned by WEA.
  • 1973: Introduces the reel to reel recorder RT-1020L
  • November 1975: Introduces the world's first component car stereo.
  • 1976: Hi-Fi Speaker HPM-100 introduced.
  • December 1976: Shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • December 1977: Introduces the world's first two-way addressable CATV system in the U.S. (with Warner Cable).
  • 1978: Introduces SX-1980 receiver, Pioneer's most powerful receiver manufactured to date.
  • February 1979: Introduces the industry-use Laserdisc player.
  • June 1980: Introduces VP-1000 LD player for home use in the U.S.
  • March 1981: Warner-Pioneer Corp. establishes the LaserDisc Corporation in Japan.
  • October 1981: Introduces LD player for home use and 70 LD software titles in Japan.
  • October 1982: Introduces the LD Karaoke system for business use.
  • November 1982: Introduces CD player.
  • September 1984: Introduces the world's first LD combination player compatible with CDs and LDs.
  • October 1984: Releases the world's first car CD player.
  • December 1985: Introduces the 40-inch projection monitor.[7]
  • 1989: LaserDisc Corporation changes its name to Pioneer LDC.
  • June 1990: Introduces the world's first CD-based GPS automotive navigation system.
  • 1990: Warner-Pioneer Corp. dissolves after Pioneer's shares were bought by Warner Music Group. Shortly after the company renamed Warner Music Japan Inc. under which is active today.
  • 1990: Pioneer invests in motion picture production company Carolco Pictures
  • June 1992: Pioneer establishes its regional subsidiary in Southeast Asia, Pioneer Electronics AsiaCentre Pte. Ltd.
  • October 1992: Introduces the world's first 4x CD-ROM changer.
  • 1993: Pioneer acquires a 50% investment in Live Entertainment from Carolco Pictures
  • 1993: Pioneer establishes Pioneer Entertainment in the U.S. as the American division of Pioneer LDC.
  • April 1995: Pioneer writes off $90 million of losses from its investment in Carolco and Live.
  • June 1996:
    • Tokorozawa Plant earns ISO 14001 certification.
    • Pioneer inaugurates and launches Pioneer Karaoke Channel, an Astro satellite television channel for music video and karaoke programming consists for nightclubs.
  • December 1996: Introduces DVD/CD player and the world's first DVD/LD/CD compatible player for home use.
  • May 1997: Starts supplying digital satellite broadcast set-top boxes in Europe.
  • June 1997: Introduces the world's first DVD-based GPS automotive navigation system.
  • October 1997: Introduces the world's first DVD-R drive.
  • November 1997: Introduces the world's first OEL-equipped car audio product.
  • December 1997: Introduces the world's first high definition 50-inch plasma display for consumer use.
  • June 1998: Introduces the world's first DVD-based GPS automotive navigation system featuring 8.5GB dual-layered DVD.
  • January 1999: Introduces new corporate logo.
  • April 1999: Starts supplying digital CATV set-top boxes in the U.S.
  • June 1999: English company name changed to Pioneer Corporation.[8]
  • December 1999: Introduces the world's first DVD recorder compatible with the DVD-RW format.
  • March 2000: Shares of Tohoku Pioneer are listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Second Section.
  • June 2001: Introduces hard disk-based GPS automotive navigation system.
  • July 2001: Introduces the global brand slogan "".
  • November 2002: Introduces GPS automotive navigation system with a wireless communication module.
  • November 2002: Introduces a DVD recorder with hard disk.
  • March 2003: Introduces in the U.S. digital CATV settop boxes with high definition TV signal reception capability.
  • July 2003: Pioneer LDC is acquired by Dentsu.
  • September 2003: Total shipment worldwide of PC-use recordable DVD drives surpasses 5 million units.
  • October 1, 2003: Pioneer LDC is renamed Geneon Entertainment and Pioneer Entertainment is renamed Geneon USA.
  • July 2004: Introduces the Pioneer DVJ-X1, the world's first DVD player for professional DJs and VJs.
  • Circa August 2004: Introduces DVR-108, first 16× DVD burning optical disc drive[9][10][11]
  • October 1, 2004: Pioneer Plasma Display Corporation (previously NEC Plasma Display Corporation) starts operation.
  • January 2006: President Kaneo Ito and Chairman Kanya Matsumoto, son of the company's founder, leave their posts to take responsibility for the recent poor performance of the maker of DVD recorders and plasma TVs. Vice President Tamihiko Sudo is appointed the new president, effective from January 1 by the board of directors.
  • December 2006: Pioneer closes its car audio division in Singapore.
  • January 2007: Pioneer displays their 9 mm (0.35 in) thick concept plasma,[12] as well as their "extreme contrast" concept plasma.[13]
  • July 2008: Pioneer develops 16-layer Blu-ray Disc capable of storing 400 GB.[14]
  • November 2009: Pioneer moves its head office from Tokyo to Kawasaki.[15]
  • September 2009: Pioneer announce two new players to their DJ equipment portfolio, the CDJ-900[16] and CDJ-2000.[17]
  • March 2010: Pioneer stops producing TVs.
  • May 2010: Pioneer releases two new DJ software controllers, the DDJ-S1, and the DDJ-T1.
  • May 2011: Pioneer announces the release of the Smart Concept Car with a full DJ setup.
  • October 2011: Pioneer officially released a new 2-channel DJ controller called the DDJ-ERGO at the BPM Show 2011.
  • May 2012 – Pioneer introduced Cyber Navi AR-HUD, the world's first automotive navigation system head up display (HUD) to project augmented reality (AR) using laser beam scanning technology developed by MicroVision, Inc.
  • August 2012: Pioneer officially launches the XDJ-AERO, Pioneer's first wireless DJ system that plays music from smartphones and tablets via Wi-Fi.
  • April 2013: Pioneer officially launches the DJM-750.
  • September 2014: Pioneer would sell its disc-jockey equipment business to private equity firm KKR for about 59 billion yen($550 million).[18]
  • March 2016: Pioneer moves its head office from Kawasaki to Tokyo.[19]
  • September 2018: after Pioneer became heavily indebted following its failed forays into car navigation and audio systems, Baring Private Equity Asia injected the company with 60 billion yen ($540 million), allowing Pioneer to settle some of their outstanding bank loans.[20]
  • March 2019: Pioneer delists from the Tokyo Stock Exchange to focus on debt restructuring, after the bailout was accepted following an extraordinary shareholder meeting.[21][22][23]
  • October 2020: A significant incident occurred that impacted Pioneer Corporation's ability to provide replacement logic boards for flagship digital mixers. During a three-day inferno, AKM's semiconductor factory, a key supplier for Pioneer's components, was completely burned down. This unfortunate event had a negative effect on Pioneer's supply chain, leading to extended delays in replacing logic boards for their equipment. As of 2023, the replacement of a logic board still takes at least 7 months due to the aftermath of the fire. Despite these challenges, Pioneer continued to release and sell new equipment that used the same shortage-affected chips. This situation left consumers with limited options, as they faced extended waiting times for repairs. This incident also raised concerns regarding Pioneer's compliance with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and gigging professionals experienced missed opportunities for wealth generation due to the prolonged equipment downtime. The situation has generated speculation about the possibility of class action lawsuits arising from Pioneer's perceived negligence and unwillingness to allocate a suitable number of new chips to address the needs of purchased boards requiring repair.(AKM, 2020; Korosec, 2021; Pioneer DJ, 2023)
  • December 2020: PIoneer releases an in-car WiFi router.[23]
  • June 2021: enters partnership with Cerence to develop conversational AI solutions.[23]

Brands and devices edit

Pioneer logo (1969–1998)
  • Pioneer – car electronics
  • Pioneer Elite produces premium electronics that are usually higher in quality and price. Most Pioneer Elite branded electronics have the gloss black "Urushi" finish.
    Pioneer Elite products include AVRs, Laserdisc players, CD players, DVD players, plasma computer monitors and televisions [Now discontinued], and rear-projection televisions. Pioneer Elite debuted their first Blu-ray Disc player, the BDP-HD1, in January 2007.[24] Pioneer released the first 1080p plasma display, the PRO-FHD1.
    In Summer of 2007, Pioneer released the Kuro line of plasma displays, that the company claims has the best black levels of any flat panel display which leads to greater contrast, and more realistic images.[25] Kuro means black in Japanese.
  • Pioneer Cycle Sport – GPS bicycle computers and single/dual-sided crankset-based power meters.[26]
  • Carrozzeria (Japan only) – car electronics
  • Pioneer Premier (North America only) – high-end car electronics [Now discontinued]
  • TAD – Technical Audio Devices. Primarily noted as a manufacturer of high-efficiency audio loudspeaker components and complete speaker systems for the commercial sound reinforcement and recording studio markets. The base for US operations is located in southern California, with limited design/manufacturing done on site. Operations commenced in the early 1980s and continue to this day with a limited offering of speaker components and expanded the offering of consumer speakers and electronics.
  • Pioneer DJ – DJ equipment. A 85.05 percent majority stake of the brand was sold to private equity firm KKR in 2015 for 59 billion yen ($551 million), but KKR resold it yet again to photo processing machine manufacturer Noritsu in March 2020 for 35 billion yen ($324.9 million).[27]
  • Pioneer Premium Audio- a brand of factory-installed OEM premium sound systems for GM vehicles: Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Pontiac G5, and Pontiac Torrent as seven-speaker premium sound systems, and a premium sound system for the Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline, and Mazda B-Series compact pickup trucks.
Сurrent logo

Pioneer also supplies genuine audio equipments and head units installed for Daihatsu automobiles marketed in Indonesia since the launch of Daihatsu Xenia in 2004.

Pioneer Karaoke Channel edit

Pioneer Karaoke Channel
Broadcast areaNationwide
NetworkPioneer Corporation (Japan)
Astro (Malaysia)
HeadquartersKuala Lumpur
Picture formatSDTV (480i 4:3)
PAL (576i 4:3)
OwnerPioneer Corporation (Japan)
Astro (Malaysia)
LaunchedJanuary 1996

Pioneer Karaoke Channel (Chinese: 先鋒卡拉OK頻道; pinyin: Xiān Fēng Kǎ Lā OK Pín Dào) is a satellite television channel that features Asian music videos and karaoke 24 hours a day. Pioneer and Malaysian satellite broadcaster Astro officially launched on 1 June 1996.

Subsidiary edit

  • Sanken Argadwija (Sanken Electronics Indonesia)
  • Vitron Electronic Industry (Vitron Electronics Indonesia)

Slogan, Motto and Tagline edit

The Art of Entertainment

Devices edit

Optical drives edit

Pioneer is one of the major vendors of optical drives.[28]

Operation modes edit

More recent optical drives allow the user to specify different operation modes using bundled software:

  • "Entertainment Mode” – Reduction of acoustic drive noise
  • "High-performance Mode" – Prioritizes reading and writing speeds
  • “Quality Mode” – Prioritizes reading and writing accuracy[clarification needed]
  • “Eco Mode” – Minimizes power consumption


See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Message from the President". Retrieved 2024-01-07.
  2. ^ "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Pioneer Corporation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 August 2023. Retrieved 11 August 2023.
  3. ^ Lawler, Richard (12 February 2009). "Pioneer officially leaving the TV biz by March 2010, focusing on audio". Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Pioneer and Sharp Sign Contract for Optical Disk Joint Venture" (PDF). (Press release). Tokyo: Pioneer Corporation, Sharp Corporation. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  5. ^ Green, Ted (2021-06-29). "Voxx Announces Final Deal to Acquire Onkyo, with a Twist". Strata Gee.
  6. ^ a b Saunders, Jarrah (29 May 2023). "Gear Icons: Pioneer DJ". Mixdown. Furst Media. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  7. ^ 40-inch Projection Monitor has been seen in Switzerland on second hand sale.
  8. ^ "Corporate Profile: Pioneer Corporation". Pioneer Corporation. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Pioneer DVR-108: 16x-DVD-Brenner im PC-WELT-Test" (, 2004-08-12) (German)]
  10. ^ "16fach-DVD-Brenner Pioneer DVR-108 Der schnellste DVD-Brenner" Archived 2020-08-15 at the Wayback Machine − CHIP.DE (2004-10-16) (German)
  11. ^ Pioneer DVR-108 – Product information and specifications
  12. ^ Hanson, Erik (7 January 2008). "Hands-on with the Pioneer 9mm-thick Kuro plasma". Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  13. ^ Hanson, Erik (7 January 2008). "Hands-on with Pioneer's extreme contrast concept plasma". Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  14. ^ "Pioneer Succeeds in Developing World's First 16-Layer Optical Disc". (Press release). Tokyo: Pioneer Corporation. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2015.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Pioneer Moves Its Head Office Location" (PDF). (Press release). Pioneer Corporation. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Pioneer announces CDJ-900" (Press release). 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011.
  17. ^ "Pioneer announces CDJ-2000" (Press release). 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 1 December 2011.
  18. ^ Pioneer says to sell DJ Audio Unit to KKR for $550 million retrieved on September 16, 2014
  19. ^ "Pioneer Decided Sale and Relocation of Head Office" (PDF). (Press release). Pioneer Corporation. 6 November 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  20. ^ "UPDATE 3-Japan's Pioneer gets $540 mln lifeline from Baring as debt deadline looms". Reuters. 2018-09-12. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  21. ^ "Pioneer faces bumpy road despite bailout from Asia-based fund". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  22. ^ "Pioneer delisted in Tokyo". 27 March 2019. Retrieved 2023-11-24.
  23. ^ a b c "History of Pioneer Corporation | Brand / History | Corporate Information". Pioneer Corporation. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  24. ^ "Pioneer BDP-HD1 review – CNET". CNET. CBS Interactive. 23 February 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  25. ^ "Experience KURO – Pioneer UK". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  26. ^ "Cycle Sports".
  27. ^ "KKR sells stake in DJ equipment maker AlphaTheta to Japan's Noritsu". DealStreetAsia. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  28. ^ Pioneer computer drive archive
  29. ^ "BDR-X12UBK - External BD/DVD/CD Writer With High Reliability. Supports BD-R 16x Write Speed And BDXL Format". Pioneer Electronics USA. Retrieved 2020-07-20.

Sources edit

  • Pioneer HPM-100, Advertisement. 1976: 1-4.
  • 40-inch Projection Monitor has been seen in Switzerland on second hand sales

External links edit