Canon Inc, Japan's largest maker of office equipment, said on Friday it would invest about 10 billion yen (approx. U.S. $93.99 million) to nearly double its annual production of ink-jet printers in 2005 compared with last year.
Canon said it will build new plants on existing manufacturing sites in Fukushima prefecture, north of Tokyo, and in Vietnam, while boosting production lines at a printer factory in Thailand, which is currently running near full capacity.
It said the moves would lift its production of ink-jet printers, including multi-function and single-function models, to about 20 million units in 2005. Last year it produced about 10.6 million ink jet printers.
Canon is trying to strengthen its presence in the worldwide printer market but faces severe competition from U.S.-based Hewlett-Packard Co. (H-P) and Japan's Seiko Epson Corp.
According to Gartner Dataquest, Canon held 16.2 percent of the global printer market in 2003, third behind Seiko Epson at 22.1 percent and Hewlett-Packard's 39.5 percent.
Canon estimates its global market share in single-function ink jet printers was about 20 percent in unit terms last year. Its share of the multi-function market was around 5 percent.
The plant in Vietnam is due to be completed by March 2005. The new capacity will be used to assemble printer bodies and for production of sensors for scanners in multi-function machines.
Canon will aim to complete the new factory in Fukushima by June 2004. It will be used to boost production of such items as ink jet cartridges.
Canon's investment in printers follows a similar move to bolster its copier operations unveiled in March.
It said it would spend about 20 billion yen on a new domestic plant at Toride in Ibaraki Prefecture, near Tokyo, for high-end copiers to accelerate product development and cut costs. (Reuters)
to Daily News