Ricoh Group History

Inspirational past, innovative future.

Innovation, a Ricoh tradition.

Where we've come from.

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Established in 1936, Ricoh Company, Ltd. is based in Tokyo, Japan and has a global presence. With over 108,000 employees worldwide, we specialise in the office and production printing markets. We work with organisations around the world to modernise work environments and optimise document efficiency. We also develop imaging devices, industrial products and network systems solutions. Our history of innovation started with a spark of inspiration.


We can trace our origins back tothe Institute of Physical and Chemical Research and its decision in 1927 to launch its research and development concepts to industry and the public 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 sensitised paper. The company started its camera business in 1937 and 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.

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For Ricoh, the 1970s was a decade of great innovation. In 1974, we launched the RIFAX 600S, the world’s first high-speed office facsimile machine. In 1977, we coined the abbreviation OA, for office automation. And we continued the technological development through the 80s by extending our support of office productivity by introducing a lineup that included computers and word processors, optical filing systems, and laser printers.

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In 1987, we pioneered the multifunctional digital copier for the office with the IMAGIO 320. In 1996, we helped popularise digital models by launching the imagio MF200, a compact and highly affordable copier. We also released networkable and color offerings and reinforced our overseas production structure, notably by establishing Ricoh Asia Industry (Shenzhen) Ltd. And we broadened our international sales network in 1995, acquiring Savin Corporation and Gestetner Holdings PLC in the process. At Ricoh, we never stand still.

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With a twin focus on environmental and corporate social responsibility, in 2002, 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.

To strengthen our overseas sales network and bolster our support and solutions capabilities, we have made acquisitions including: NRG Group of the UK in 1996; Lanier in 2001 and Savin the next year; Hitachi and IBM print divisions in 2004; the European operations of Danka Business Systems in 2006;to support our global sales structure we purchased IKON Office Solutions, Inc., in 2008; and in 2010 InfoPrint Solutions became wholly owned by Ricoh.

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