Japanese camera and printer maker Canon has rolled out an ambitious company expansion programme, titled Vision 2020, to chart its next phase of growth in India. The company aims to penetrate the country further in the next three years with its offerings, augment the photography culture in India and introduce technological advancements across business and consumer products. “In the coming years, we will focus on our retail footprint and on growth across all businesses to achieve double digit growth each year. By 2020 we envision to reach revenue of Rs 3,500 crore,” says Kazutada Kobayashi, president & CEO, Canon India, in an interview with Sudhir Chowdhary. Excerpts:
Canon has completed 20 years of operations in India. How has the journey been so far?
The journey has been tremendous. Twenty years ago we started with very small operations and now we have 1,000 employees, hitting Rs 2,500 crore of business. We started with only few copier machines and now we are expanding into 14 different domains.
Isn’t Canon more identified with digital cameras and printers? What are your efforts to re-create a brand beyond this image?
We want to expand our product portfolio from the existing domains to new ones. We have purchased new companies in security surveillance cameras and medical equipment. On the other hand, we also want to establish Canon brand as a corporate. Some of the companies in the world are well-known as a company and not just for the products.
How has Canon’s market share in India grown in comparison to global markets?
In India, perhaps I can tell the story from the camera side first. We initially expanded our share from the small compact cameras. Now with smartphones becoming popular, the market for small cameras—point and shoot— has shrunk. Then we have expanded our market in digital single reflex. Also, the price range at which we are introducing the entry camera —Rs 30,000 range—has helped expand Canon’s market share very rapidly.
What are the opportunities that you see in the Indian market?
There is huge potential for our products. The number of households is increasing due to nuclearisation of families. Moreover, mid-range income families are increasing, and I believe photography is one of the many popular hobbies for those families.
How is Canon’s strategy aligned to the key trends in the Indian market?
From input of images to output, we are taking care of it, starting with the camera, then image processing to printing of pictures. The most popular event in the country is the wedding. So the camera for the wedding is the most important device. We not only want to take pictures but also offer the high definition photo album in the market. So, the total solution from input to output is our technology edge.
How can Canon partner with the government in Smart Cities and Digital India initiatives?
I think we can be a contributor to the document management system. The digitisation and archiving of existing paper documents is a major issue when we talk about Smart Cities and IT revolution. Our document scanner along with the software will be a way to get these huge stacks of papers with the signature digitalised, and when these have to kept in safe custody for seven to 10 years, digital archiving will ensure these are safe as well as accessible.
What’s your forecast on mobile printing as more people use smartphones and tablets that are tethered to a printer?
Mobile printing, hand in hand with a Wi-Fi connection, will be the key issue. We want to make all our inkjet and laser printers able to receive Wi-Fi signals to make that possible. Currently it is 75% but we will make it 100%.
Everyone is talking about 3D printing these days. Is it a reality now?
I don’t personally think so. It will be difficult to realise it.