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May 30, 2006 – Canon Inc. expects camera sales in China to increase by 30 percent this year, Reuters reported yesterday. This sounds ambitious, but the company experienced the same type of growth last year. Total sales in China brought in less than 10 percent of Canon’s global profits, but the company is eyeing this promising market.
Canon, the world’s largest camera manufacturer, invested in the fast-growing Chinese market several years ago when it cut the ribbon on the company’s largest plant near Shanghai. This $100 million plant was opened in 2004 and is one of eight plants in China. Other markets around the globe are growing at an average of 8 percent for Canon, so the sales in China are significant.
Just last week Canon said it will carefully watch the film camera market and monitor sales before deciding whether to stop production on film cameras. This announcement is sparked by the success that Canon has seen with its PowerShot and EOS digital cameras. Canon has the No. 1 global market share in digital cameras.
According to the company’s first quarter report issued April 27, Canon’s digital camera sales are up 20 percent from the same period last year. Its largest growth segment is in digital single lens reflex cameras, with the Canon Digital Rebel XT and the EOS 30D being the most popular models. Sales of interchangeable lenses are up too, with the company manufacturing its 30 millionth lens in January this year. The company sold almost 2 million DSLR units in 2005 and expects that number to increase in 2006.