updated 04:35 pm EDT, Mon July 4, 2011
Fujifilm gunning for No. 3 cameramaker spot
Fujifilm has aspirations to surpass Samsung as the number four camera maker by March of 2012 and is gunning to knock number three Nikon down a notch by the same time in 2013, a company executive revealed in an interview with Reuters. Takeshi Higuchi, who heads up Fujifilm's camera division, also said the company may bring back interchangeable lens cameras, a market last visited by the firm in 2004. They wouldn't be full-blown DSLRs, however, such as those offered by Canon and Nikon, but rather mirrorless ones with an electronic viewfinder.
Higuchi went on to say Fujifilm wouldn't have any issues with developing a mirrorless camera or the requisite lens on its own and denied the need to buy or work together with a specialist company for either component.
Such a product would help bring the company image more upmarket and likely be the flagship offering. It would also allow it to compete on a more-or-less even playing field with Sony, which also recently released a mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera with the NEX-C3. Currently, Fujifilm's retro-styled FinePix X100 is the most expensive offering, priced at $1,200.
Last year, Fujifilm's camera division had a tough time, though it was in the black. Higuchi says this year will see the company spend the money saved by keeping production costs in-house on marketing to build up the brand.
To take the number four spot in terms of digital still camera sales in fiscal year 2011, Fujifilm says it needs to bump sales by 25 percent to 14 million.
Other than the Japanese-made X100, Fujifilm cameras are built in China. Higuchi said production may begin in southeast Asia, with Thailand looking promising, but Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines also looking promising. Current production levels in China will be kept, but the company feels a risk there due to the wages and high staff turnover.
Fujifilm FinePix X100