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India is a high-priority and high growth market for Canon: Manabu Yamazaki

Srabana Lahiri | Updated on: Monday, April 25, 2022, 06:19 PM IST

Manabu Yamazaki, President & CEO, Canon India |
Manabu Yamazaki, President & CEO, Canon India |
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Manabu Yamazaki, President & CEO, Canon India, is upbeat about big opportunity in the India market as the company leverages new consumption patterns post the pandemic. As Canon completes 25 years in India, he sees the B2B and B2C businesses contribute equally to its growth, while identifying industry trends and telling us about his ‘people grow people’ philosophy.

This year marks Canon India’s 25th anniversary. How has the journey been so far?

India has become one of the biggest markets for Canon. Having started our journey in India 25 years ago, we are proud to have carved a name for the brand in the country that is trusted and resonates with innovation and quality. This year, we are celebrating our legacy, and an enduring passion for creating great experiences for our consumers. Both our B2B and B2C businesses are well-poised with our extensive reach across the length and breadth of the country, and through our array of 360-degree input-to-output solutions. Going beyond our business, with CSR embedded in the DNA of Canon India, we have remained committed to make a difference in the communities where we live and work.

You have been at the helm of Canon India for a year now. How was your experience in the India market over the past year, and how do you find it different compared to other markets?

It has been an exciting experience with immense learnings and insights into the Indian psyche. India is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and holds great importance for Canon as well. The country consistently thrives on the latest tech innovations and adoption of technology is quick among consumers. I have travelled across the country in the past year to understand the pulse of the Indian customers and partners, and have realized that customers are well informed, and increasingly more aware about what they need from a particular product. It has been a delight to lead the India market as I admire the people here for their hard work and persistent focus on innovation-led growth. Overall, with penetration of smartphones and strong attachment to digital communications, I see a huge potential for online/offline omni-channel product and service offerings with creative marketing communications.

In the camera segment, Canon enjoys over 50% market-share. What are the current talking points with regard to new launches, marketing, innovation and technology of Canon cameras?

We are currently working on creating innovative products that imbues our video-first approach, tailor-made to suit the needs of new-age customers; be it to support online content creation or OTT content production. Our latest launches - both the Canon EOS R5 C and EOS C70 have been the strongest additions to the Cinema EOS system. We are working on further expanding our line-up through industry-first launches such as that of the EOS VR system. We take immense pride in securing the No. 1 share of the global camera market for the 19th consecutive year from 2003 to 2021.

What are some of the trends you see in the larger camera universe as well as in consumer behaviour?

The mirrorless camera industry in India is growing exponentially and is expected to grow even more steadily in the near future. The segment contributes 30% to our overall business at the moment. In the last five years, we have observed expansion in the professional segment fostered by the growth of wedding photography in Tier II, III and IV cities. Youngsters have picked up wedding photography/ photography because it helps them earn more money and we see them opting for full-frame mirrorless cameras and buying professional gear. Another trend to note is ‘vlogging’ which has emerged as a new form of content creation. Keeping this in mind, we launched the multi-faceted EOS M50 Mark II. Poised with features that allow content creators to live-stream directly to YouTube by connecting to wi-fi as well as enabling users to create 4K quality videos seamlessly, the EOS M50 Mark II has gained admiration among the vlogger community. Additionally, the demand for video content equipment has seen a massive increase, owing to the rise in content creation, media streaming platforms, and OTT production houses. We are working on strengthening our presence in new segments including education technology, OTT, preaching and virtual reality as we strive to be a one-stop-shop solution for all videography needs.

How do you rate the growth trajectory of Canon’s B2B imaging and printing business, especially at a time when home offices have surged? What is its contribution to overall revenue from India?

We saw a remarkable growth during the pandemic from our B2B imaging and printing business in India. With the hybrid working model, the need of the hour was to streamline workflows and help our customers access documents on the go. We have been aggressively expanding our portfolio of ink tank printers, across Maxify and Pixma G-series printers, which is the ideal choice for every printing need from business proposals, projects, home-work, etc., at affordable prices. Both our B2B and B2C divisions are contributing equally to the growth of the organization in India. We will continue to integrate B2B and B2C businesses and consider relevant business opportunities in every domain.

Overall, what has been the impact of the pandemic for Canon, and resultant change in the brand’s strategy for growth and expansion?

For us, the pandemic came with great opportunities and a few challenges which we managed to fight back. We leveraged the evolving customer requirements and focused on products that will aid them in adapting to the new normal. With the WFH and LFH trend to continue in the near future as well, we see good demand for our inkjet printers in the home segment. Our vision for 2022 is to grow the business through our strengths in existing divisions and expand horizons to newer avenues. We will target double-digit growth for our camera business in the mid-term period.

Going forward, what is the agenda before Canon India? What will be your top focus areas?

Our vision is to accelerate our growth post COVID and leverage industry trends and new consumption patterns. As India continues to be a high priority and high growth market for Canon, we are focused to become the fastest growing sales company amongst all groups. Of late, we see a lot of potential in the cinema segment, especially with the rise in OTT content. The wedding industry is another segment where we see immense growth potential. Hence, OTT, cinema, the wedding industry, vloggers, and the education sector continue to be a big focus of our imaging business. Also, from the B2B perspective, surveillance is going to be a critical business for us this year, as we aim to strengthen our position as a surveillance solutions-provider across segments and industries. New technologies in the healthcare industry such as the Internet of medical things, AI, virtual reality, digital therapeutics, remote patient monitoring have opened doors to a great opportunity for us to expand our imaging business.

How would you describe yourself as a leader?

As a leader at Canon India, I am passionate about creating an inclusive workplace that promotes and values the diversity of human resources. I focus more on the idea of ‘people grow people’. I ensure that my colleagues know I am approachable, accessible and available when needed. I place importance in flat relationships rather than a hierarchical one.

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Published on: Monday, April 25, 2022, 07:41 AM IST