Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. is a Japanese multinational engineering, electrical equipment and electronics company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. MHI is one of the core companies of the Mitsubishi Group and its automobile department is the predecessor of Mitsubishi Motors.
MHI's products include aerospace and automotive components, air conditioners, elevators, forklift trucks, hydraulic equipment, machine tools, missiles, power generation equipment, printing machines, ships, aircraft, railway systems, and space launch vehicles. Through its defense-related activities, it is the world's 23rd-largest defense contractor measured by 2011 defense revenues and the largest based in Japan.
In 1857, at the request of the Tokugawa Shogunate, a group of Dutch engineers began work on the Nagasaki Yotetsusho, a modern, Western-style foundry and shipyard near the Dutch settlement of Dejima, at Nagasaki. This was renamed Nagasaki Seitetsusho in 1860, and construction was completed in 1861. Following the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the shipyard was placed under control of the new Government of Meiji Japan. The first dry dock was completed in 1879.
In 1884, Yataro Iwasaki, the founder of Mitsubishi, leased the Nagasaki Seitetsusho from the Japanese government, renamed it the Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works and entered the shipbuilding business on a large scale. Iwasaki purchased the shipyards outright in 1887. In 1891, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries - Yokohama Machinery Works was started as Yokohama Dock Company, Ltd. Its main business was ship repairs, to which it added ship servicing by 1897. The works was renamed Mitsubishi Shipyard of Mitsubishi Goshi Kaisha in 1893 and additional dry docks were completed in 1896 and 1905.
The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries - Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works was established in 1914. It produced industrial machinery and merchant ships.
The Nagasaki company was renamed Mitsubishi Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Ltd. in 1917 and again renamed as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 1934. It became the largest private firm in Japan, active in the manufacture of ships, heavy machinery, airplanes and railway cars. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries merged with the Yokohama Dock Company in 1935. From its inception, the Mitsubishi Nagasaki shipyards were heavily involved in contracts for the Imperial Japanese Navy. The largest battleship Musashi was completed at Nagasaki in 1942. The company also housed the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, the Akunoura Engine Works, Mitsubishi Arms Plant, Mitsubishi Electric Shipyards, Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, and Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works, which employed 90% of the city's labor force, and accounted for 90% of the city's industry. These connections made Nagasaki a legitimate target for strategic bombing during World War II by the Allied air forces, which later dropped an atomic bomb on the city on August 9, 1945. This attack, following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima three days earlier, dealt a devastating blow to the Japanese leadership, contributing to the surrender of Japan six days later.
In 1970, MHI's automobile parts department became an independent company as Mitsubishi Motors.
In 1974, its Tokyo headquarters was targeted in a bombing that killed eight people.
In October 2009, MHI announced an order for up to 100 regional jets from the United States-based airline Trans States Holdings.
MHI entered talks with Hitachi in August 2011 about a potential merger of the two companies, in what would have been the largest merger between two Japanese companies in history. The talks subsequently broke down and were suspended.
In November 2012, MHI and Hitachi agreed to merge their thermal power generation businesses into a joint venture to be owned 65% by MHI and 35% by Hitachi. The joint venture began operations in February 2014 and ended in 2020, as Hitachi transferred its shares to MHI.
In June 2014 Siemens and MHI announced their formation of joint ventures to bid for Alstom's troubled energy and transportation businesses (in locomotives, steam turbines, and aircraft engines). A rival bid by General Electric (GE) has been criticized by French government sources, who consider Alstom's operations as a "vital national interest" at a moment when the French unemployment level stands above 10% and some voters are turning towards the conservative party. The GE proposal ultimately prevailed, however.