Canon to sharpen focus on mid, high-end cameras

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Electronics giant Canon on Tuesday said it is now focusing more on middle and high-end cameras amid smartphones with high resolution imaging capabilities eating into sales of compact cameras.

Compact or point and shoot cameras sales were flat in 2012 compared to 2011, mainly as a lot of smartphones are now available with similar camera features.

On the other hand, we saw a 30-32 percent growth in DSLRs in 2012 (over 2011) compared to our estimate of 25 percent growth," Canon India President and CEO Kazutada Kobayashi told reporters at New Delhi.

Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera are digital devices with a single-lens reflex and a digital camera back.

Canon is now focused on cameras in the middle to high-end category and Rs. 10,000 price point is like the borderline, he added.

Over the last year, handset majors like Nokia and Samsung have launched smartphones with high resolution cameras like Nokia's 808 PureView that has a 41 megapixel camera -- the highest in the category.

Samsung, which competes with Canon in the printer and camera categories, launched its Galaxy camera in 2012 that lets users share pictures online directly with 3G and Wi-Fi.

"At the same time, we are also working on bringing in technology available in the high-end cameras to lower priced devices," Kobayashi said.

The company is targeting revenues of Rs. 2,350 crore by the end of 2013 and Rs. 5,500 crore by 2016 from Rs. 1,850 crore in 2012.

Canon gets about one-third of its revenues from cameras, while the remaining comes from printers and copiers as well as commercial printers.

While new businesses (commercial printers and movie cameras) comprise a small percent of the revenues, Kobayashi said Canon expects this vertical to contribute as much as 25 percent in three years.

Canon, which sold 50 units of the movie camera 'Cinema EOS' last year, is targetting sales of 200 of these in 2013. The Cinema EOS is priced at Rs. 15 lakh onwards.

Meanwhile, the company has set up neon signages at international airports in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore as part of its marketing initiatives with an investment of Rs. 70 lakh.

The company's first neon signage was put up in Times Square in 1956.

The signages in India have been designed by advertising major Dentsu.

Canon has been present in India for 15 years and we are looking at building our brand further.

While our products are well-recognised for our products, but we also want to be known as a good corporate," Kobayashi said.

Canon will put up more such signages in Chennai, Kolkata, Pune and Hyderabad in 2014, he added.

Kobayashi said the company spends about seven percent of its revenues on marketing initiatives.

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