Canon is identified as a digital camera brand – an image it is now trying to give a makeover. The Japanese camera and printer maker is hard at work to expand its product portfolio. Apart from products, Canon also wants to establish itself as a corporate. Towards this, the company is aggressively promoting its CSR activities. In a joint interview, Hideki Ozawa, president and CEO, Canon Asia Marketing Group and Kazutada Kobayashi, president and CEO, Canon India, inform Sudhir Chowdhary that they have set themselves the goal of reaching a turnover of $10 billion by 2020. The two Canon senior executives are positive that Canon India will be a fundamental contributor in realising this vision. Excerpts:
Canon has completed 20 years of operation in India. How does the senior management view the operations here?
Hideki Ozawa: When we established Canon India, in 1997, we discussed how to get into India. Ten years back our business grew more than 5-6 times. Ever since Kazutada Kobayashi has become the president of India operations, we have not only worked hard to make our business grow bigger, but also to get the Canon brand penetrate deeper into the Indian market. I look forward to seeing Canon India become better and bigger in the future. I am in charge of entire Asia including China, India, Indonesia and I see India as a driving force to make the entire Asia market grow bigger for Canon. Currently, we are looking at $10 billion by 2020.
Canon is seen only as a digital camera brand. How does that impact its brand image?
Ozawa: What you say is true and this is because we started mainly as a camera company way back in 1937. We have been treated as a big photography player all over the world, maybe even for printers. But we have other products. So in all countries, we ensure that the Canon image is conveyed correctly. The camera and printers are the consumer products we push, which is our flag-bearer, responsible for making the Canon name famous. Now that this is accomplished, we are talking about our B2B products so that it rings a bell with consumers. Kobayashi: We want to expand our product portfolio from existing domains to new ones. We have purchased new firms in security surveillance cameras and medical equipment. So we want to step into those areas too.
What are the opportunities in India?
Ozawa: We do have copier machines; we are also getting into professional printing space and medical space. During the time of professional printing we did acquire a Dutch company and we also acquired the Swiss company Axis to help us promote some cameras. Last year we acquired Toshiba Medical Company to help us sell our medical products and we are joining the company with our teams.
How is the printing market evolving in the Asia-Pacific region?
Ozawa: We are promoting all the printers we have, whether it is for personal use or office use. We need to meet the printer needs of each market. Hence, we have introduced big printers compared to regular size printers and CISS. B2C products must be our core business, but we realise that we need to make B2B also our core business. We have various kinds of devices and software solutions to cater to the needs of small and medium enterprises when it comes to printing. One example is our copier machines—MFDs—which have a software called the uniFLOW. It can connect to 2-3 machines to consolidate the printing volumes and associations, so that one can read all the machines.
Is mobile printing a big trend now?
Kobayashi: In India, mobile printing would mean that the thousands of people who are travelling across the country can access printing through mobile phones to the server and give print command to any printer anywhere and anytime. We are developing such a software so that our machines can accept the command of a business traveller from any part of the country.
How do you plan to tap the enterprise market in India?
Ozawa: The Indian market when it comes to enterprises is emerging fast. We are keen to develop our sales. We are investing a lot of funds, time and people to brush up our after-sales services.