Once upon a time, Japanese companies dominated the consumer electronics industry. In the smartphone market, companies from this region have lagged international rivals. Panasonic has now said it will no longer release phones for NTT DoCoMo (NYSE:DCM), Japan's largest carrier. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the biggest player from the U.S. Samsung also has a large slice of the pie, and Chinese manufacturers are putting up major growth in unit sales. Sony (NYSE:SNE) is making gains, but is the exception and not the rule.

In the following video, Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, and Eric Bleeker, CFA, discuss how Japanese companies have fallen behind as the market shifts beyond hardware.

Eric Bleeker, CFA, has no position in any stocks mentioned. Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.