Jabra’s story begins with a man named C.F. Tietgen, a Danish industrial mogul who established the Great Northern Telegraph Company (GN) in 1869. Tietgen’s original idea was to capitalize on Denmark’s location to create telegraph lines connecting superpowers France and Great Britain with Russia and East Asia.Over the next 100 years, GN expanded the reach of its telegraph operations, including opening the first telegraph connection from Northern Europe via Siberia to Japan and Hong Kong in 1872. By 1907, GN was one of the leading international telegraph companies. Its network consisted of 15,600 km of telegraph cables, which connected an advanced network in Northern Europe via Siberia, the most sophisticated network in East Asia.
In 1969, GN marked its 100-year anniversary by opening the Japanese-Russian (JASC) connection. With this expansion, the GN cable network now covered connections from North America via Siberia to Japan.
1977: Another product area enters the picture
GN acquired the Danish hearing aid producer, Danavox. This acquisition would prove to be a turning point in GN’s history.
GN Store Nord acquired the Danish ‘office automation’ company, Netcom, from Rovsing A/S.
1985: New name, new focus
GN changed its name from Great Northern Telegraph Company to GN Great Nordic. The aim was to establish a new group identity and, therefore, the company renamed all of its subsidiaries: GN Danavox, GN Nettest, GN Automatic, etc.
1986: A struggling subsidiary
Netcom turned out to be an unprofitable business and the operation was closed down in 1986 – leaving GN Store Nord with an “empty” company.
The board of GN Store Nord had concerns about the financial results of another GN company – GN Danavox, which at that time produced both hearing aids and headsets.
At a meeting in September of that year, GN decided to move the production of headsets from GN Danavox to a new telecom division. The new division took over the name GN Netcom from a producer of office data equipment that GN had acquired in 1984.
1987: The future’s in headsets
GN Netcom’s sales rose by 34%, making it the best year ever. GN Netcom established subsidiaries in Canada, USA and West Germany – and promised its shareholders an increased focus on a development project called ‘cord-less headsets’.
2000: GN Netcom acquired Jabra
GN Netcom acquired Jabra, a leading manufacturer of hands-free devices for mobile phones in USA.
2006: A new center of operations
GN moved into a new 50,000 square meters office building in Ballerup, Denmark. For the first time since the Second World War, all of GN’s functions were housed in one building.
GN headsets are marketed globally under the Jabra brand. By uniting all headset operations under one brand, Jabra worked to reinforce its position as a world-leading headset supplier.
Jabra generated revenue of over DKK 2 billion, a far cry from the DKK 100 million revenue the company had in 1987.