Today, the Japanese firm's growth is driven largely by its IT/Network Solutions and Semiconductor Solutions business units.

An industry veteran, NEC was founded in Japan in 1899. Originally known as Nippon Electric Company, the company's early business dealt with the production, sales and maintenance of telephones and switches. Its global expansion took place in the 1950s, with the setting up of Nippon Electric New York (now NEC America). It was also during this period that NEC ventured into computing systems.

Today, NEC's growth is driven largely by two business units: IT/Network Solutions and Semiconductor Solutions.

The IT Solutions division, formed through the restructuring of NEC's software and services businesses, provides IT services to enterprises. This division is noted for producing the world's fastest supercomputer--at the time it was tested--in October 2004. Today, the division is also focused on RFID (radio frequency identification), one of the industry's hottest technologies.

The Network Solutions business designs and provides mobile and broadband network systems, and plans to ride on the wave of convergence with its mobile handsets division. It plans to develop optical and IP networks.

The Semiconductor Solutions business produces semiconductors used in mobile handsets, DVD recorders and digital TVs.