Canon has ended the days of cheap printers and cameras. Its CEO announced recently that the company’s 14-year-old mission was completed to transform the business into an industry with high-value added.
Fujio Mitarai is the CEO and chairman at Canon.
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His strategy was highlighted in Japanese media after Canon’s financial results improved due to the weaker Japanese yen. He also noted that Canon intended to bring its main factory back home to Japan.
He told Tokyo Keizai Online that the company had never exported high-end SLR cameras to overseas markets. (Opens in new tab (machine translated). “Domestic production continues by streamlining and automating processes. It also closed the China factory that made low-end cameras at a cheap price this year.
Mitarai explained that his “foreign exchange” policy combines two key factors. First, the depreciating Japanese yen makes it more advantageous to export products from Japan. This is especially true for high-value products.
Also, the pursuit of low-value products based on overseas production will leave the company vulnerable to fluctuations in exchange rates. This is why it is important to centralize and streamline production in Japan.
These changes have also been triggered by declines in core businesses that Canon specializes in.
“The IT revolution, which began in the 2000s, and the rise of smartphones made it impossible to buy cheap cameras. Canon cameras sales have declined by a third. Despite Canon having the largest market share, their sales are declining steadily. This was my first time experiencing it. This was my first experience in the cloud.
We learned from this experience and decided to make changes in the business structure. We have made a difference in the industry that was once known for making cheap printers and cameras.
This gives Canon a good picture of the future. Naturally, there will always exist entry-level products in the world of printers and cameras. However, there is no doubt that the company is shifting resources toward the big ticket items – rather than cutting costs by making cheaper products in countries with cheaper labor.
We recommend that you read the entire interview (for which, you will need to create an account), as it covers everything from Canon’s investment into surveillance cameras to Canon’s heritage as a company which has lifetime employees (with a culture in which all executives start work at 6:50 AM).).
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