Mirrorless wave has just started in India: President and CEO, Canon India | Interview

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Published: May 2, 2019 12:26:22 AM

We look forward to cater to these young and mid-segment users who are looking for affordable yet high quality products.

We endeavour to respond to that demand with our range of cameras.

Mobile camera photography may be a rage but Kazutada Kobayashi, president & CEO of Canon India, believes that there is still a demand for visual expression that is different from that rendered by smartphone cameras. Riding high on its success as a trustworthy brand, Canon is looking forward to keep the number one position in the camera as well as the copiers market in India. Speaking with Sudhir Chowdhary, Kobayashi talks about its business strategy for India and its future plans. Excerpts:

How big is the mirrorless camera market? Further to the launch of EOS RP, tell us about your expansion strategies.

The mirrorless wave has just started in the country. Last year, we forayed into the full frame mirrorless segment with the launch of our EOS R system in September 2018. We have now launched its younger brother EOS RP—lighter and affordable, but heavy in terms of performance.

The mirrorless market is expected to grow further, and we aim to drive this growth with our range of mirrorless cameras. Through our robust product line-up that effectively responds to the needs of a wide range of users, we have continuously secured the top global share within the industry. With the launch of EOS RP, we see 20-25% contribution of this product to our mirrorless segment and will be a significant contributor to the overall growth of Canon India.

Going forward, we want to keep on stimulating the photography market by introducing newer range of camera body as well as enriching the lens side so that customers have more options in the future. With a pan-India outreach, we aim to cater to the varied imaging requirements of photographers and enthusiasts across multiple genres.
In the age of growing usage of mobile phone cameras, what is the value proposition that Canon is bringing to the table today?

With innovation and quality remaining key to the ever evolving imaging industry, there is still a demand for visual expression that is different from photographs clicked by smartphone cameras. We endeavour to respond to that demand with our range of cameras.

Also, the answer lies inside the machine. For instance, with a camera, user can move the lenses and bodies, where lens can be interchangeable. Hence, that is a unique advantage of a conventional camera against a smartphone camera.

A typical user would look for speed, ease of use, and good image quality as key attributes in a camera. In which segment is Canon innovating right now?

We have been innovating in all three domains—speed, ease of use and image quality. Our strength lies in what we like to call “Trinity of Imaging”, which means we develop and produce major components like lens, processor and sensor in-house, which gives the needed quirkiness to a picture.

To begin with, the lens itself is being produced in our factory in Japan, through the quality of our polishing eyeglasses technology. The image sensor is also produced in-house. Last is the brain of the camera, the DIGIC 8 image processor, which is also produced in-house with high quality production as an imperative.

Beyond the cameras, can you tell us about the key business highlights and growth in the previous year?

At Canon, we have a diverse portfolio of products and solutions, including cameras and consumer segment printers that form the B2C business. We have a strong focus on B2B business as well in the office segment and commercial printing segment. Both the businesses having contributed equally to our growth in India. Our continued perseverance has resulted in a healthy double digit growth in 2018.

Thanks to our technology and sales and service network, we have consistently maintained our leadership position in India in the B2B segment, especially with our color MFDs enjoying the number one position for the last three years, and we aim to continue the same success in 2019.

What are the opportunities that you see in the Indian market?

India as an imaging destination has huge potential and presents us with some exciting opportunities. Wedding segment has been one of the hot and top performing market segments in India. Travelling is also a growing sector in India, particularly in the mid income segment, where young people are increasingly clicking and sharing their moments on social media. We look forward to cater to these young and mid-segment users who are looking for affordable yet high quality products.

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