Our Story: Going Global
The 1960s and '70s were a period of extensive international growth for Medtronic. In the 1960s, sales outside the United States accounted for about one-third of our revenue, with the European market representing the majority of those sales. To better service the European market, we opened a service center at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in 1967. Staffed round-the-clock, the Schiphol Depot provided physicians with technical information, repaired and tested equipment and devices, and supplied sales representatives with marketing materials.
To compete with local pricing in the European market, we established an international division based in Paris and built a major manufacturing facility in Kerkrade, The Netherlands.
Medtronic's first manufacturing facility in Europe featured state-of-the-art clean room facilities.
In the late 1960s, we began to acquire firms that had been our major distributors, thus building a direct sales force to market products around the world.
We continued to expand geographically in the 1970s. We established a Latin American headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil; a European headquarters in Paris; a direct sales operation in Japan; and manufacturing facilities in Canada, France, and Puerto Rico.
In 1987, the opening of the Bakken Research Center in Maastricht, The Netherlands, signalled Medtronic's continued emphasis on international markets. We have since opened hands-on Bakken Education Centers in more than a dozen countries, to serve both physicians and our sales organizations.
The 1990s began with the building of a manufacturing facility and pacing research center in Japan. The European headquarters was moved from Paris to Brussels, and eventually to Tolochenaz, Switzerland. The facility includes administrative offices, a research and development facility, and a manufacturing center.
In 1997, we opened a new pacemaker assembly facility in Pudong, China, reflecting the importance of China as a key emerging market.
With all the growth, the company needed a new world headquarters that could accommodate a growing employee base, increased demand for training, and consolidated research and development facilities. In 2001, Medtronic moved into a new facility in Fridley, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Medtronic's World Headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Today, Medtronic operates from more than 250 manufacturing facilities, sales offices, research centers, education centers, and administration facilities that serve customers and patients in 120 countries.