Our parent company, ITOCHU Corporation, began in 1858, when our founder Chubei Itoh began linen trading in Japan at the age of 15. The company started in the U.S. in 1918. From then until the 1980s, ITOCHU International built a strong portfolio of trading businesses. We initially focused on acting as a liaison between Japan and the United States, primarily in the textile trade area, then expanded into other wide-ranging areas, from grain and canned goods to aircraft, electronics, and services, such as foreign exchange and leasing. Throughout the 1980s, we extended our trading activities even further, moving aggressively beyond our original focus on Japan to a global perspective.
In the 1990s, recognizing that trading alone would not enable us to continue to achieve our high profit and growth objectives, we simultaneously invested heavily in U.S. market leaders and in growing companies, creating a portfolio of North American subsidiaries. This business model, rooted in dynamic portfolio management, has produced ITOCHU International's largest growth ever.
Going forward, ITOCHU International will build on these achievements while continuing to focus on speed, innovation and strategic portfolio management.