Fri, May 26, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Casio is eyeing Taiwanese market

REPLACEMENT TREND Although the Japanese firm said that it wasn't expecting the local market to grow very much, it still views Taiwan as quite competitive

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Casio employee displays the new 10-mega pixel digital camera the ``Exilim zoom EX-Z1000'' at the company's headquarters in Tokyo yesterday. Equipped with a 10.1 mega-pixel CCD on its image sensor and a 2.8-inch wide LCD display, the camera is only 19.9mm thick and weighs a mere 139g.

PHOTO: AFP

Eyeing the growing digital-still-camera replacement trend, leading Japanese vendor Casio Computer Co has vowed to join the top-three players in the local market this year.

"The digital camera market here is fairly competitive as a result of saturation. We don't expect the market size to grow drastically this year, but the replacement demand will help us increase market share," Toshiharu Okimuro, president of Casio Taiwan Co, told reporters on the sidelines of a product launch yesterday.

He estimated that total market in Taiwan for digital cameras this year will be slightly reduced to 950,000 units from 1 million units last year.

Casio Taiwan is gearing up to raise market share to 10 percent by the year's end, which will enable it to become one of the top three players he added.

Last year, the company garnered around 8 percent of market share, making it into the top-five list, according to Okimuro, who has been based in Taiwan for the past nine months.

The move of Casio Taiwan -- a pioneer in offering thin credit-card sized digital cameras -- will pressurize Sony Corp, Canon Inc and Nikon Corp, the current local top-three players occupying a combined share of 55 percent to 60 percent.

"Despite the fact that our cameras offer higher resolutions, we will win over more consumers with products providing longer battery life and wide-screen panels," Okimuro said.

The company yesterday unveiled the Exilim Zoom EX-Z1000, a 10 megapixel digital camera weighing 139gm and offering battery life of 13 hours and a 2.8-inch wide-screen panel at 230,400 pixels.

Sales of the EX-Z1000, priced at NT$14,900 (US$466) apiece, will reach 5,000 units a month, he said.

The eight major Japanese digital camera makers, which include Canon, Sony, Nikon and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, plan to boost their combined shipments worldwide by 18 percent year-on-year to 76.5 million in the year to next March, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) reported last month.

These firms combined shipments hit 64.94 million in the year to last March, which was 13 percent higher than the previous year.

Casio is targeting a 30 percent increase in global shipments this year to 600 million units, the Nikkei said.

To lower production costs, 90 percent of Casio's digital cameras are assembled by contract makers, with Taiwan's Ability Enterprise Co (佳能) as a major partner.

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