Wed, Jul 12, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Oki confident of winning bigger slice of local market

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Japanese printer vendor Oki Data Corp is set to invest NT$32 million (US$1 million) in its first year of operations in Taiwan, in tandem with the opening of its first local branch, company executives said yesterday.

The money will go toward covering manpower costs and advertising, according to Show Yamamura, general manager of corporate resource at Oki Systems Taiwan Co, the local branch of the Tokyo-based Oki Data.

"Most people here do not know about our technologies," he told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference announcing the company's investment in the local market.

"Taiwan is a significant market for printer vendors and there is more room for growth," Yamamura said.

According to Mikihiko Maeno, president and chief executive of Oki Data, Taiwan is the fifth-largest printing market in the Asia-Pacific region, after Japan, China, South Korea and Australia.

The Japanese firm is now setting its sights on the region after achieving success in the US and Europe, he said.

Statistics from research firm International Data Corp (IDC) show that Oki was No. 4 in the US, No. 2 in the UK and Germany, in terms of the color printer market during the first quarter of this year.

The Taiwanese branch is Oki's latest expansion move following the establishment of a software development center in Dalian, China, and a sales office in South Korea -- both last October -- and an office in Malaysian in March.

The company will set up a branch in Beijing before September, Yamamura said.

Statistics gathered by IDC Taiwan show that the local color laser printer market fell 16 percent in the first quarter to 7,708 units from same period a year ago.

Hewlett-Packard Co, Epson Inc and Fuji Xerox Co were the top three vendors in the segment.

But Yamamura is confident that Oki will boost its share in the local color printer market to 10 percent by 2008 from 2.6 percent, which would make it one of the top three players.

Yamamura said that Oki's light-emitting-diode (LED) technology will give it an upper hand over firms using laser technologies, because LED-based printers are smaller, faster, provide better quality printing and are more environmentally friendly.

Oki, which actually entered the Taiwan market with the appointment of distributors two years ago, plans to continue to leverage its seven-firm dealer network to sell and offer services, Yamamura said.

The company also plans to increase its local staff to more than 20 by 2008, from 11 now, he said.

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