Canon needs to boost innovation, CEO tells Nikkei Asian Review

Canon chairman and CEO Fujio Mitarai told the Nikkei Asian Review the company will look beyond cameras and copiers for growth, and pledged to boost innovation efforts. The company will establish an “innovation center” in Silicon Valley, but left unsaid is how much of that effort will be spent on imaging. Most of the recent acquisitions have been in health care and other segments.

“Our primary management goal this year is to raise our antennas high toward cutting-edge technology,” said Mitarai. “It is on this point where we lag behind other companies. We will open up a research and development center in the U.S.’s Silicon Valley, where we will actively adopt new technology.”

Mitarai noted it’s been difficult for Canon to stay “ahead of the competition” in terms of innovation, and that late-market entrants are concern. Fortunately, Canon has a strong financial structure, allowing it to invest in new opportunities, he said.

Canon will see growth in 2018

By 2020, Mitarai said cameras will contribute 30 percent of sales: “We aim to make at least 5 trillion yen ($44.1 billion) in consolidated sales. It is definitely not impossible if we maintain the current economic situation and stable exchange rates. I see cameras contributing over 30% and office equipment another 40%, while new business segments, with health care at the center, will account for the rest.”

Overall, Mitarai is bullish on the prospects for 2018, coming off of a good 2017: “2017 was a strong year for cameras, office equipment and other existing businesses. With the addition of new business segments like health care and industrial equipment, we have evidently boosted both sales and profit. The business climate will improve further in 2018, and we aim to lift sales and profit for a second consecutive year.”