Canon closely con­nected with China

China Daily European Weekly - - Business - Fan­feifei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Com­pany cites sup­port from gov­ern­ment as key fac­tor for sus­tained busi­ness growth

By FAN FEIFEI grown in China. For ex­am­ple, we set up a joint ven­ture in co­op­er­a­tion with Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity to carry out soft­ware R&D in 1988. Then, we es­tab­lished Canon In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (Bei­jing) Co, which still ex­ists and is in­volved in the ex­pan­sion of R&D work.

In 1989, Canon set up fac­to­ries in Dalian, Liaon­ing prov­ince, and Zhuhai, Guang­dong prov­ince, in 1990. Since then we have ex­panded our pro­duc­tion in China. At present, Canon has five pro­duc­tion bases across the coun­try.

At first, the Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties of­fered tax ex­emp­tion poli­cies. Thanks to mu­tual ben­e­fits, we soon took root in China, and the five pro­duc­tion bases have been op­er­at­ing well since then.

Canon (China) Co, which was es­tab­lished in 1997, is a sales com­pany in China. Due to the pol­icy lim­i­ta­tions at that time, we didn’t re­ally carry out any sales ac­tiv­i­ties for seven years af­ter the com­pany was es­tab­lished.

In 2004, we se­cured the right to di­rectly im­port and sell for­eign prod­ucts, and then we em­barked on a series of mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Our busi­ness in China has been grow­ing steadily ev­ery year. More­over, con­sumers’ aware­ness and per­cep­tion of Canon have been im­prov­ing. In terms of spe­cific prod­uct lines, our dig­i­tal cam­eras and inkjet print­ers have had the largest mar­ket share in China for sev­eral con­sec­u­tive years.

Cur­rently, Canon has about 1,600 em­ploy­ees in China. If we in­clude all of our fac­to­ries and as­so­ci­ated com­pa­nies on the Chi­nese main­land, we have more than 20,000 em­ploy­ees. It is a plea­sure to work with them, as they are all ex­cel­lent.

We are grate­ful for the strong pol­icy sup­port from the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.

In the past 20 years, we have wit­nessed the rapid growth of many Chi­nese com­pa­nies. They are strong com­peti­tors, not only for Canon but also for other en­ter­prises from Euro­pean coun­tries and the United States.

We are de­lighted to see their growth, such as Alibaba, Sun­ing, Gome, Ten­cent and other e-com­merce plat­forms and in­ter­net com­pa­nies, be­cause they will be­come our clients and im­por­tant part­ners in a lot of busi­ness ven­tures in the fu­ture.

Look­ing back over the past four decades, es­pe­cially in the early years, Ja­panese, Euro­pean and US en­ter­prises had great ad­van­tages in terms of tech­nol­ogy. It was in that early stage that we came to China and pro­vided many Chi­nese en­ter­prises with tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and sup­port. How­ever, the sit­u­a­tion is now re­versed, as many Chi­nese en­ter­prises have mas­tered the most ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy, es­pe­cially af­ter the rise of in­ter­net en­ter­prises.

Ja­panese, Euro­pean and US en­ter­prises can now learn from Chi­nese en­ter­prises.

We feel that we can learn a lot from China’s emerg­ing com­pa­nies. For ex­am­ple, mo­bile pay­ments, such as WeChat Pay and Ali­pay, are very com­mon in China, while pay­ment meth­ods are less de­vel­oped in Ja­pan.

China has un­doubt­edly de­vel­oped into a global eco­nomic power. Now that it has be­come such a pow­er­ful coun­try and holds a sig­nif­i­cant global role, it takes re­spon­si­bil­ity not only for Chi­nese na­tion­als but also the whole world.

It can be seen in projects like the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment con­sid­ers not only its own na­tion­als but also the peo­ple of the world in terms of ac­tions and words. It is also a re­spon­si­bil­ity be­ing a world power.

Thirty or 40 years ago, China was like a sleep­ing mar­ket and no one had ac­ti­vated it. We gen­er­ally thought Ja­pan, the US and Europe were the cen­ter of the world. How­ever, since I came to Bei­jing in 2005, the changes have been very big. The Chi­nese mar­ket has been in­creas­ingly ac­tive, and has grad­u­ally be­come one of the most im­por­tant mar­kets in the world. It is a top pri­or­ity for Canon.

The 2008 Bei­jing Olympic Games, the 2010 Shang­hai World Expo and the Canon ex­pos in 2011 and 2016 in Shang­hai all left deep im­pres­sions on me.

Big sports events at­tract me­dia from all over the world. Whether they are pho­tog­ra­phers or jour­nal­ists, we can see them in the sta­dium or in the news cen­ter. As most of their equip­ment is Canon, we set up an on-the­ground Canon pro­fes­sional ser­vice cen­ter, with pro­fes­sional staff mem­bers to pro­vide ser­vices, such as loan­ing cam­eras and lenses, as well as of­fer­ing re­pair and main­te­nance.

Mean­while, the pres­ence of many pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers is a good op­por­tu­nity for mar­ket­ing, and we took ad­van­tage of this op­por­tu­nity to do a lot of pro­mo­tion, ad­ver­tis­ing and other ac­tiv­i­ties.

How­ever, if I go back to Ja­pan one day and some­one asks me that ques­tion again, I would say the peo­ple around me im­pressed me sig­nif­i­cantly, no mat­ter whether they are deal­ers or our own em­ploy­ees. They are very friendly and easy­go­ing. The most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence is to work with them.

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