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Suzhou to Become No.1 Production Base for Fuji Digital Cameras

On Dec. 7, Furumori, Global President and CEO of Fujifilm Corporation, announced in Suzhou that the production base of Fuji digital cameras would be shifted from Japan to China, and that Fuji Suzhou plant was to become the largest No.1 production base of digital cameras in the world. Yesterday, the tenth anniversary of Suzhou Fujifilm Printing Machine Co., Ltd. saw the foundation laid for Fujifilm Printing Board (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. with an investment of 44 million USD (approximately 400 million RMB) in SIP.

Fujifilm started strategic deployment in China after the establishment of Fujifilm (China) Investment Co., Ltd. of China HQ in Shanghai in 2001, and by now, Fujifilm has invested a total of 300 million US dollars for 20 subsidiaries in China with a workforce of 12,000. In 2004, Fujifilm registered 1.4 billion US dollars sales revenue. Furumori said, "China has become the new and primary market for multinational corporations, and in certain sense, the performance at the Chinese market will determine the success or failure of multinational corporations in the global competition."

Fujifilm first invested in Suzhou Fujifilm Printing Machine Co., Ltd. in 1995 to produce Polaroid and APS cameras. With the fast growth of digital cameras among consumers in the following years, Suzhou plant began producing digital cameras in 1997. In a span of ten years, Fujifilm Suzhou has grown into a large-sized enterprise with registered capital of 86.5 million USD, a staff of 1,600, and annual sales revenue of 1.9 billion RMB.

As furumori said, the production of Fuji digital cameras is shifting its base to China, and in the coming years, Fuji plans to produce 6.5 million digital cameras annually, of which 2 thirds will be made in China, and Suzhou will become the No.1 global production base in Fuji’s digital camera strategy. To localize the production, Fujifilm has established in Suizhou technological R&D center, and started optimization of development and procurement of accessory parts, technological procedure, and quality assurance systems. Groups of qualified local technicians have been sent to Japan to be trained as mainstays for technological development at the frontline of production.

Fujifilm owns patent rights over the technologies of three major parts of digital cameras: CCD, optical lens, and image treatment.

In the field of printing, Fujifilm cooperated with China Printing Technology Research Institute in 2000 to set up Fuji Star Co., Ltd., and launched the high-quality PS board (pre-coated photosensitive board). Then, in October 2004, Fujifilm pioneered in localizing the world-advanced CTP materials.

Besides the Fujifilm plant under construction in Holland, Fujifilm decided to invest in Fuji film Print (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. The new plant, which costs 44 million USD in investment to achieve annual production capacity will be 18 million square meters of CTP, is scheduled to start operation in March 2007. Furumori expressed, "China is assuming more and more important position in the entire cause of Fujifilm (including Japan, the US, and Holland)."

Dec. 8, 2005

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