Sony found its beginning in the wake of World War II. In 1946, Masaru Ibuka started an electronics shop in a bomb-damaged department store building in Tokyo. The company had $530 in capital and a total of eight employees. The next year, he was joined by his colleague, Akio Morita, and they founded a company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation). The company built Japan's first tape recorder, called the Type-G.
In the early 1950s, Ibuka traveled in the United States and heard about Bell Labs' invention of the transistor. He convinced Bell to license the transistor technology to his Japanese company, for use in communications. Ibuka's company made the first commercially successful transistor radios. According to Schiffer, Sony's TR-63 radio "cracked open the U.S. market and launched the new industry of consumer microelectronics." By the mid 1950s, American teens had begun buying portable transistor radios in huge numbers, helping to propel the fledgling industry from an estimated 100,000 units in 1955 to 5 million units by the end of 1968. [Source: Wikipedia]