In 1953, Shin-Etsu Chemical became the first company to commercialize silicones in Japan. In the ensuing period of more than 60 years, Shin-Etsu has harnessed the fine properties of silicones to develop over 5,000 products that meet user needs in a wide range of industries, including electrical and electronics manufacturing, auto manufacturing, construction, cosmetics, healthcare and chemicals. We have manufacturing and marketing bases in 11 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas, giving us direct access to these various markets. As a result, we have grown to become the No.1 silicone manufacturer in Japan and one of the leading firms worldwide.
We've been making major capital investments in our Japanese and Thai facilities, augmenting our production equipment for small-lot products and mass-produced items, and directing additional resources toward research and development and technical services. These efforts will allow us to respond more quickly and with greater agility to the specific needs of our customers around the world. Users should know that the Shin-Etsu Silicone name is backed by a company that offers the sort of services and passion for manufacturing for which Japan is renowned.
Silicones exhibit an amazing array of useful properties, which can be traced to the molecular structures of the materials themselves. Developers have great latitude when it comes to product design, meaning that silicones are materials with almost unlimited potential. At Shin-Etsu, we will continue to harness the potential of silicone to develop new products that satisfy diverse customer needs. We'll be moving forward in step with our customers on a path toward further growth, and look forward to your continued support and encouragement.
Director, Senior Managing Corporate Officer
President, Silicone Division