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Fujifilm’s Focus on Printing Plates

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October 4, 2005 - With the popularity of digital cameras decreasing the demand for film, traditional mass photo printing techniques are changing as well, and Fujifilm wants to be at the cutting edge. Fuji has voiced intentions to nab 40% of the global market for printing plates, increasing its current 30% hold by going after rivals Agfa-Gevart and Eastman Kodak.

Old mass photo printing techniques involved plates that had to be used with film, but newer CTP (computer-to-plate) technology involves taking an image directly from a computer to an aluminum printing plate. Fuji currently manufactures both types of plates, but CTP is quickly becoming the preferred technology. Fuji is also set to commercialize a new type of plate next spring, a "processless" plate that needs no processing chemicals, is more environmentally friendly than CTP, and takes up less space in a printing room. Rival Kodak is also developing processless plates.

Kazuto Sameshima, general manager of Fuji Photo's graphic systems business division, said that for Fuji to meet its increased market share goals, the company would need to go after countries that are fast becoming technologically adept, such as Brazil, India, and China. Sameshima also indicated that the US and Germany, where Fuji already has a sizable presence, will require different marketing strategies, while other parts of Europe would require more attention to increase distribution channels and salesforce.

Fuji’s printing-related operations brought in 220 billion yen worth of revenue in the 2004/05 financial year, which is more than that brought in by its digital camera operations. Fuji aims to increase it to 300 billion yen ($2.63 billion) in 2008/09.

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