Positive Outlook Despite Tough Times – Canon Malaysia 30th Anniversary
Canon Malaysia just celebrated their 30th anniversary with a roadshow that happened in Mid Valley Megamall last week. The 5 days roadshow celebrated all things Canon that are available in Malaysia. It is also to sow commitment in the Malaysian market for the coming years. Of course, it is nice to know what their plans are and what can we look forward to in the coming years. So they held a press conference for us to ask as many questions to our heart’s content.
Digitalisation of Photography
The top guys from Canon, including chairman and CEO of Canon Inc., Fujio Mitarai was present to help us out. In the press conference, Canon has talked about how the digitalisation of the photography and videography industry benefited them as well as users around the world. With digitalisation of these technologies, there is less compromise with photo and video quality. There is also the benefit of quick processing of photos; he used the Olympic Games as and example of this. The media world greatly benefits through the almost instant publication of images taken in any given events. With the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) as well, digital cameras will become easier to use and be more sensible in the coming future.
At some point it is worth mentioning that the digitalisation of the industry also could point to online presence and availability of Canon products. To that, they said that there are many considerations to the channel. There have also been talks about making Canon products available officially through their own online stores of course but nothing is concrete just yet. They also mentioned that the availability of its online stores will be subject to things like market acceptance, trends, maturity, and its distribution network. They noted also that despite online channels, physical presence in the form of authorised dealers are still significant and will not be going away anytime soon.
That said, we do think that it is important for you to get a feel of what you want to buy first before actually getting it. A camera is an investment, you should go out and have a feel of it first before deciding that it is one for you.
The Rise of Smartphone Imaging
With the digitalisation of the industry, we get the digitalisation of us. Well, when I say that I mean smartphones. The little block of plastic/aluminium/glass of a thing that makes us glue our faces on it. A little piece of scientific magic that gives us the computing power of the moon in our pockets. That thing can take photos everywhere we go too, it is a pocket point-and-shoot camera that can replace your compact cameras.
Quite recently as well we have seen a particular smartphone manufacturer partnering with a highly commended camera manufacturer to put their camera technology into a smartphone. What they ended up with was a beautiful mess of a device. Do not get us wrong, it works; very well at that. We love it and hate it at the same time. But that is for another story and another time, we have reviewed the device anyway so you can see it somewhere in the site (we cannot publicise the device in this story, there could be implications). The most important thing to know with that collaboration is that it sells, and the smartphone actually benefited from the technical know how of the camera guys.
Canon though has no plans to look into the smartphone industry in the sense that they are not producing one or working with any particular manufacturer to make one sporting their brand. That said though, they do feel that the rise of smartphones do make for an important progress. They have been developing their smartphone app for remote controls and other functions via WiFi and they will continue to develop it.
They did note however that the sales of compact digital cameras have slowed down since the introduction of high-resolution cameras in smartphones. Despite the downward trend Canon still believes that a proper camera has not lost its significance. Even with all the processing power of the smartphone, nothing replaces a proper, purpose-built digital camera in terms of image quality. Boy, do we agree.
Canon does admit that they have a reportedly slow year in 2016. The stats show a slow down in sales for their imaging market. The slow down though does not deter Canon from expanding their market reach whatsoever though. They are happy to report growth in India, Vietnam, and Philipines.
Despite the lack of growth in Malaysia, Canon did express their confidence in the region for the year 2017 and are expecting to report growth for the region. Of course, currency is always a factor when it comes to sales. It was also one of the biggest driver in the market growth in Malaysia. For that case, Canon did not indicate a price hike or adjustments but assures us that they will continue to monitor the currencies and make adjustments where necessary.
Overall, Canon is optimistic for the year 2017 and the growth potential it poses. The expected growth in GDP for the local market also helps to give confidence.
The Future of Canon in Malaysia
Canon has made a few acquisitions in the past few years. Those acquisitions also does not involve photography or the likes of those. In fact they have done some acquisition over medical equipment manufacturer Toshiba (their medical side anyway). Looking further back too, they have been acquiring companies that does Semi-Conductor manufacturing, a company that developed a new imprinting process for manufacturing sensors, a commercial packaging factory, and network camera firm, and has been developing X-Ray technology. Though their acquisition is seen as almost random, Fujio Mitarai affirms us that the acquisitions are all part of Canon’s strategies. The decisions of acquiring said companies were also due to Canon’s already existing technologies and capabilities.
The ASEAN market though is said to have a large untapped potential. Not only to Canon, every other industry leaders have been looking at South East Asia as one of the key markets to emerge out of Asia. Which is also why Canon is planning more expansion efforts in the region. That includes Malaysia which, to Canon is also one of the most important markets in South East Asia. Everyone is talking about ASEAN being the growth engine of the 21st century, Canon is looking to leverage on that and make that an actuality.
With their 30th anniversary in Malaysia expect them to have more consumer events in the near future, the next one might just be around the corner for you. Of course, with more road shows and events comes more promotions. Some more photos of the press conference after the break.