- Takemitsu Takizaki, the founder of sensor-making manufacturer Keyence, is now Japan’s richest man.
- Keyence, which Takizaki founded in 1974, was recently chosen to enter Japan’s blue-chip stock index.
- His employees are some of the best-paid in Japan, earning an average $170,000 a year.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The richest man in Japan is now Takemitsu Takizaki, the founder of automation sensor manufacturer Keyence, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.
His fortune has grown to $38.2 billion, surpassing that of Uniqlo mogul Tadashi Yanai, who lost $9.7 billion this year so far and is now worth $35.5 billion, the index shows.
Takizaki, 76, keeps a low profile. He started his Osaka-based company in 1974 and never attended college, according to Bloomberg.
One of his successes was helping to invent precision sensors for assembly lines that produced cars for Toyota and chips for Toshiba. The sensors are a staple product for Keyence, which also makes barcode scanners and microscopes.
“He’s a very rare type in Japan,” Mitsushige Akino, an executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo, told Bloomberg in 2015. “He valued profit margin over sales and grew the company steadily.”
Takizaki’s Keyence is so successful partly because it outsources production – sending raw materials to component suppliers, then taking those components and sending them to assemblers before performing final inspections, according to The Financial Times. By splitting up the production chain, the company lowers the risk of its suppliers learning from its operations and eventually becoming its competitors.
Keyence, which has offices in 46 countries, also has a reputation for paying its employees well, with monthly bonuses based on their profits. Its employees earn some of the highest salaries in Japan, at an average $170,000 a year, per The Times.
It’s a salary model that an expert called “one of the best examples of meritocracy in Japan,” according to The Times.
When Takizaki retired from his role as the company chairman in 2015, his fortune stood at $7.2 billion and he was the fourth-richest man in Japan, according to Bloomberg. But over the next six years, his wealth would see a more-than fivefold increase.
That growth has partly been fueled by a boom in demand for factory automation in Japan, as the pandemic forces companies to seek ways to keep production going without in-person contact.
To top that off, Keyence was also one of three companies to recently be chosen to enter the Nikkei 225, Japan’s blue-chip stock index, alongside video game maker Nintendo and electronic component manufacturer Murata.
As a result, Takizaki, who is now Keyence’s honorary chairman and owns 21% of Keyence according to Bloomberg, added $5.9 billion to his fortune this year.
Keyence did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for comment for this story.
Powered by WPeMatico