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Max Grundig; Radio, Television Pioneer

December 23, 1989

Max Grundig, 81, the radio and television pioneer whose electronics company grew from a small shop to a worldwide enterprise. Grundig began tinkering with radios as a 15-year-old apprentice in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg. He opened his own shop with a friend in 1930, selling radios and producing transformers. After World War II, Grundig was permitted by the Allies to relocate his business to Fuerth, where he set up his own factory to produce radio parts. His company was one of the first to produce frequency modulated (FM) radios, cutting out static interference for clearer reception. In 1952, Grundig was one of the first European companies to start producing TV sets. During the 1960s, Grundig began setting up foreign branches. But Grundig's market share came under increasing pressure in the late 1970s from cheaper Japanese products, and in 1980 the company suffered its first losses. Grundig was forced to close 11 plants and cut its work force from 35,000 to 29,000. In 1984, the Dutch Philips group bought nearly a one-third share and took over the management. The firm, which still bears his name, has annual sales of more than $1.7 billion. In Baden-Baden, West Germany, on Dec. 8 of unannounced causes.

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