India a country with most business potential: Japanese printing giant Fujifilm

Apr14,2024



New Delhi: $20 billion Japanese printing and medical device company Fujifilm A top official of the company has said that India is considered one of the highest potential markets for business globally, while it is looking to outsource its R&D and technology center work to meet its global needs. Also considers.
“It is a well-known fact that India is a very populous country, where the GDP is also showing consistent growth. From that perspective, I believe that India is probably the country with the most potential in the world, ” Naoki Hama, president and CEO of Global Fujifilm's Business Innovation Corp. told TOI here.
The Business Innovation division provides multifunction printers to large to small and medium-sized businesses to help solve business challenges related to documents and communications. It was initially established as a joint venture with Xerox, but later became a wholly owned Japanese company after acquiring Xerox's stake a few years ago. While the joint venture had previously placed restrictions on Fujifilm from directly operating in India and some other markets, this condition was lifted once it took full control.
This led the company to start business in India from April 2021, but only with printers and machines that are imported here. Office-related products are made in Vietnam, while commercial printers, also known as graphics communications business, are made in Japan.
When asked if the company was planning Make in India, Hama said there were no specific plans. “With regard to Make in India, currently we do not have any specific plans for manufacturing locations. However, the appeal of India as a market is undeniable and we will continue to keep an eye on our sales growth in the region. India also serves as a gateway to Africa, thereby increasing its strategic importance.
Asked if the company plans to set up R&D and innovation here, he said while some work is already being outsourced to India, more work can be considered. “Currently, we engage in offshore activities, taking advantage of the development support provided by Indian companies for IT and solutions development. We have already offshored some of our software development through these means. Additionally, one of our sister companies has set up a human resources department in India, with Indian software engineers deployed to assist. Depending on the circumstances, they may be able to work with us in Australia. The support of our Indian partners is vital to our expansion efforts.”
Excerpts from the interview:

TOI: India and Japan are very good friends as countries. But India is also a very fast growing economy. How do you see India as a potential market for printing companies?

Naoki Hama:

It is a well-known fact that India is a very populous country. And as you rightly pointed out, the GDP is continuously increasing. So from that perspective, I believe India is probably the country with the most potential in the world.
So, I would say that mainly there are two points of attraction for us in India – one, needless to say it is a very big market, it is a market which is also growing. Also, it is the human resources, the talent pool that India has, you know, we will need the cooperation and support that is provided by the Indian human resources talent.
And that's going to be very important as we grow our business here. So, this is something that we not only expect but also look forward to as we grow in India.

TOI:

It is a really competitive market where companies like Canon, HP etc. are already making their presence felt. How do you see yourself breaking in here? Because distribution is hard to differentiate supply chain servicing?

Naoki Hama:

We want to bring very specific products to the Indian market, we have to bring products that will delight Indian consumers and also be able to contribute to their lives in some way. I believe, for example, Indian consumers are very fond of photos. I believe that business potential That's huge, and we want to make sure that if your consumer wants to see prints of their photos, they have to be very, very high quality. So, we started with high-end machines that are good for high-end printing. So, we started this first in India.

TOI: As you mentioned, people like printouts of their photos. Weddings are a big business in India, with people collectively spending millions of dollars. Along with weddings, photography also plays an important role. Apart from weddings, what are the other sectors that can stimulate business growth for you in India? On the consumer side, not B2B.

Naoki Hama:

So, going back to commercial printing, to be honest, the demand for it is decreasing in some areas. What was previously considered commercial printing is now transitioning to digitalization. We have observed that the proportion of digitalization is currently at 10%, and we estimate that this trend will continue to increase. Therefore, in our approach towards professional printing, we have chosen to introduce high-end printing machines in India.
Typically, our printers provide four primary colors, or let's say five primary colors. However, the product we have introduced in India uses six primary colours, which significantly increases the possibilities of permutations and combinations. Our aim is to bring high-end products to the commercial printing industry.

TOI: There are concerns about stability across the world. Everyone wants to conserve paper. You're talking about printing that uses more and more paper. Also, are you worried that now more and more people are going digital and most of the offices are working on hybrid mode. This means that the printer is no longer being used as much as it used to be. Does this make the printing business very challenging going forward?

Naoki Hama:

Your observation is absolutely correct. And I think everything has accelerated, especially during and after COVID. As you know, there has been a lot of change in working styles, and people have become very conscious about not using paper and not taking out too many printouts. So, yes, the situation and circumstances have changed.
From that perspective, I would also like to inform you that less than 70% of our turnover or revenue comes from printers, which we actually call multifunction printers, and more than 30% comes from service and solutions. From now on we have a business plan to increase the proportion of revenue from services and solutions.
Another thing to add here is that I believe the status of what is called a multifunction printer has changed over time, and we will need to make sure that our machines, the products we manufacture, Be aware of this new positioning of the product. , Just to give you an example of how we're trying to be mindful of the changing state of printers, etc., traditionally these multifunction printers had two functions: they either made a photocopy or printed out, primarily This was the situation since.
However, today multifunction printers have evolved into entry and exit points to provide various services and solutions. A very simple basic example of this is that one of the activities that has been done in our efforts to digitize is that something that was physically available, like paper, is scanned and converted into digital data. , Isn't it? So this is, in a way, an entry point to provide further solutions. We believe we now have to look at these multifunction printers as a part of the solutions and services business. Thus, it is a part of the solutions and services. And we design our products keeping that in mind.

TOI:

Cloud and data security are important aspects of cybersecurity because once you are scanning, the data must be stored on the cloud, which then raises cybersecurity concerns. So, I'm sure these are the areas you will focus on?

Naoki Hama:

Yes, we are really doing things like that. What we are doing involves setting up the IT environment for our customers in Japan. Additionally, we assure the safety of their office environment. For this purpose, we handle tasks such as configuring PC settings.
Additionally, we have a joint venture company in Japan that manages cloud data. These are services we already provide in Japan. So, in that sense, we are moving towards expanding or evolving into a company that thinks beyond capturing data. Hopefully, someday we will be able to provide similar services in India too.

TOI: You mentioned the need for more people from India to work on innovation. This is one aspect for which you will hire people for R&D for innovation in India. Part two is about 'Make in India'. Prime Minister Modi has always talked about companies coming to India, manufacturing in India, supplying in India and exporting to other countries. Because the government is giving a lot of benefits to the companies to build here. So first of all, will you hire people for R&D and innovation? And secondly, will you now start exploratory work on setting up a factory in India to at least make printers and other types of solutions, and also make some investments here?

First of all, I would like to point out whether we are driving innovation in India. Currently, we engage in offshore activities, taking advantage of the development assistance provided by Indian companies for IT and solutions development. We have already offshored some of our software development through these means. Additionally, one of our sister companies has set up a human resources department in India, with Indian software engineers deployed to assist. Depending on the circumstances, they may be able to work with us in Australia. The support of our Indian partners is vital to our expansion efforts.
Regarding “Make in India”, at present we do not have any specific plans for manufacturing locations. However, the appeal of India as a market is undeniable and we will continue to keep an eye on our sales growth in the region. India also serves as a gateway to Africa, increasing its strategic importance.
Our commitment to environmental consciousness sets us apart. We strive to implement similar eco-friendly practices in India. In terms of environmental initiatives, we engage in two types of business. One involves refurbishing old machines for re-use, while the other involves complete dismantling, with 86% of the parts reused and 14% replaced with new ones. This latter approach, especially the re-use of mostly new parts, reflects our dedication to sustainable practices. We have implemented these initiatives in Japan and given the close ties between our countries, we look forward to introducing these to the Indian market.

TOI: With regard to recruitments in India, especially with regard to technology and innovation, the establishment of the technology sector in India, and secondly, when you mentioned the factory, once the business grows, have you seen any impact on that? Have also started doing kind of work, recognizing how much of it makes sense and how much of it doesn't make sense? What kind of investment will come?

Naoki Hama:

So honestly, we don't have anything specific yet. I don't have any direct answer to your question. That said, you know, once you enter India, something happens deep inside me, in the back of the mind. I know that this concept must be in my mind. And you know, I hope there will come a time very soon when I start thinking exclusively along those lines.

Q: Just a clarification: Which market are we getting the products from and where do you make them?

Office-related products are made in Vietnam, while commercial printers, also known as graphics communications business, are made in Japan.



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