Fri, Jun 09, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Casio Taiwan targets double-digit sales growth

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Casio Taiwan Co has set a revenue growth target of more than 20 percent for its consumer electronics division this year, driven mainly by digital cameras and electronic watches, company executives said yesterday.

"Consumer electronics will be our future focus in Taiwan and other Asian countries, with digital cameras and electronic watches fueling growth," Toshiharu Okimuro, president of Casio Taiwan, told a media gathering.

Domestic consumer product sales are expected to rise 23 percent this year to around NT$1.6 billion (US$49.8 million), the company said. The segment posted annual growth of 28 percent last year.

The company expects digital cameras to make up the bulk of revenues this year, at around 60 percent, while timepieces contribute roughly 20 percent, said Jason Wu (吳政哲), the company's vice president for sales.

Calculators and electronic musical instruments will account for the remaining 15 percent and 5 percent, he added.

"As the digital market in Hong Kong and Taiwan is already mature, growth will likely be driven by replacement demand," said Yozo Suzuki, managing director of Casio Computer Co's global marketing headquarters. "However, we expect sales in China to expand 20 percent next year."

Suzuki was in Taipei yesterday to join a public event to celebrate the integration of Casio Taiwan's local marketing and watch component subsidiaries, which took effect on April 1.

Improving technologies, such as battery life, panel brightness and wideness, as well as anti-shock feature, could stimulate replacement demand, Suzuki said, adding that consumers in general replace their digital cameras three years after purchase.

Casio, renowned for its credit-card sized cameras, is targeting a 30 percent increase in global shipments this year to 600 million units, according to a Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) report last month.

To lower production costs, 90 percent of Casio's digital cameras are assembled by contract makers, with Taiwan's Ability Enterprise Co (佳能) a major partner. Ability Enterprise started to make digital cameras for Casio in 2003.

Camera designs, however, are still done by the company to ensure quality, Suzuki said, adding that the firm has no plans to launch low-end models to grab market share.

He also said that Casio's global revenues this year are expected to reach US$5.5 billion, fueled by consumer electronics and thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal-display component sales.

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