Canon, the company specialised in manufacturing cameras and printer solutions, plans to expand its business in the Egyptian market, as well as in Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, and Ivory Coast over the upcoming years.
Somesh Adukia, regional sales director at Canon Middle East, told Daily News Egypt that the company believes that the Egyptian market is full of opportunities for growth despite the number of challenges present, most notably the appreciating US dollar rate. The company expects sales of photography products to increase by 15% in 2016.
How do you evaluate the Egyptian market at the current time?
The company has a great interest in investing in the Egyptian market. We consider it promising owing to its size and the 90 million citizens living in Egypt. The youth represent a large demographic, and they usually embrace modern technology. This gives us great confidence in pushing investments into the Egyptian market.
According to a report by Smithers PIRA about the sector, it is expected that the print market in the Middle East will increase by 7.5% annually, reaching nearly $26.3bn by 2018. In Egypt in particular, the number of manufacturers of printers and printing materials has continued to increase, reaching nearly 8,000 companies in this sector. There is a brilliant future coming for this sector.
What do you aim to accomplish in this market during the upcoming phase?
We hope to increase growth rates in the photography solutions sector and its products. We also seek to launch marketing and educational campaigns to introduce the importance of cameras and photography technology. We also seek to introduce new lens types and accessories that enhance photographs.
What are the most prominent challenges facing the company in the Egyptian market?
There are several obstacles facing the company, most prominently, the instability of the US dollar exchange rate, which negatively impacts the company’s export of its products. It is expected that the Egyptian market will witness economic stability in the long run, which will easily be reflected on the activity of the company in the local market during the upcoming period.
Have these challenges affected your plans in the Egyptian market?
Despite the challenges, Canon has not stopped its work in Egypt. On the contrary, we opened a regional office in Egypt for the Middle East and North Africa. We also expanded the recruitment of Egyptian employees, and we launched several modern products in the sectors of printers and cameras.
What are the markets affiliated with the new regional office in the African market?
Canon works in north and central Africa across about 44 countries. We have a good portion of the market share in a number of these markets. We occupy the first place in some markets, and the second in others.
We divide our work in the African market into three categories: high, medium, and low. These categories are assessments and classifications of markets. This classification reflects the growth and the presence of the company in the market. Egypt currently is counted within the second category. Canon hopes that Egypt will move to the first one.
What are the products with growth opportunity in the Egyptian market?
In the local market, we focus on DSLR model cameras, in addition to laser printers and the new PIXMA printers.
Recently, we have launched our latest printers in the PIXMA G series, which include PIXMA G1400, PIXMA G2400 and PIXMA G3400. They are able to print 7,000 colours and 6,000 pages using one group of ink refills.
We also seek to cooperate with the Egyptian education and government authorities in order to offer clients what they need in the local market.
How do you see the printer and photography markets in Egypt? What is the size of your market share locally?
Currently, Canon has a large share of sales in the Egyptian printer market. We try to maintain this percentage and increase it over the upcoming period.
In terms of the printer market, based on the indexes, we believe that there is sufficiency in the market. If no new products are offered, the market would face difficulties in its future growth. The PIXMA G printers will help us expand in the printers market in Egypt and Africa.
Similarly, the photography products market still needs more products and has promising growth opportunities. If we compare the volume of the photography market to the number of products, we will find a great gap between them, so it is important for the photography products market to grow by 15% during the upcoming period.
Canon tops the sales of the local market in terms of traditional printers. It also occupies the second place in terms of laser printers. Canon also owns a large share in the cameras market, especially the DSLR model. It also seeks to increase sales from 15,000 units to 20,000 DSLR cameras in 2016.
What are the most prominent features of your expansion plans during the upcoming period?
In its expansions, Canon will focus on six markets, among which are Egypt, Ethiopia, and Ivory Coast. Ghana and Senegal will also be focussed on as we already have a strong presence there.
The business volume is acceptable in the markets of Morocco, Tunisia, and Kenya. We seek to achieve the same results in the six markets.
What is your competitive advantage?
The quality of our products is the most important characteristic of Canon. The technology of our products also contributes to giving us an advantage over our competitors. We depend in this in our technology and development centres, where we allocated 8% of our total annual spending for the research and development sector. The repair and maintenance rate of Canon’s products is less than 2% of total sales.
We are currently working to improve our after-sale services and we seek to establish new centres for after-sale services.