Yangcheng Evening News reporter Lin Xi and intern Pan Guiyi

  Recently, an announcement issued by Canon Zhuhai Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Canon Zhuhai) has attracted widespread attention.

The announcement, dated January 12, 2022, shows that Canon Zhuhai, which has been established for 32 years, announced that it will "make a difficult decision: terminate the company's production."

Canon China responded to the Yangcheng Evening News reporter that due to the sharp shrinking of the global camera market and the raging epidemic in recent years, Canon Zhuhai has faced unprecedented business difficulties and had to make this decision. There are currently thousands of employees in the factory.

  In the era of smartphones and photography, digital cameras have indeed fallen into trouble, and when the camera business performance is not good, where will Canon go in the future?

  Temporarily reserve a few parts production lines

  According to public information, Canon Zhuhai was established in 1990, and it has been 32 years since then.

The factory mainly undertakes Canon's camera production business in China. Its compact digital cameras used to account for half of Canon's global compact digital camera sales. It is one of Canon's most important overseas production bases. It has received numerous orders and visited suppliers. An endless stream.

After the outbreak of the epidemic, Canon Zhuhai's production capacity continued to decline and fell into a dilemma.

Canon China said that Canon Zhuhai closed the production line of small digital cameras this time. After the shutdown, the Zhuhai factory temporarily still has a few parts production lines, which will be adjusted according to market changes.

  A Canon related person responded to the Yangcheng Evening News reporter that it is currently in the preparation stage for production suspension, and the specific follow-up matters are still being negotiated and promoted with the government, and there is no conclusion on how the production line will be arranged after the factory is closed.

The Zhuhai High-tech Zone has confirmed to the media that Canon Zhuhai will stop production, and said that the company is currently discussing disposal plans with employees.

  It is understood that the digital cameras produced by Canon Zhuhai are not considered high-end products, while the SLR cameras of Canon's high-end product line are all produced in Japan.

In addition to the Zhuhai plant, Canon has other manufacturing plants in China, located in Dalian, Suzhou, Zhongshan, Zhuhai and Taiwan, according to the company's annual report last year.

Canon Zhuhai, however, is the only factory that makes cameras.

Canon told reporters that other factories mainly produce medical imaging supplies, involving CT imaging equipment, etc., as well as printing industry equipment, such as printers, copiers, etc.

  Provide high-quality jobs for employees

  After the factory is shut down, how to arrange employees is the most concerned issue for the public.

  In this regard, Canon said in the announcement that from now on, the company will negotiate with the labor union and employee representatives in accordance with the law, comprehensively consider the opinions of employees, and determine the plan after fully negotiating and reporting to the relevant departments.

At the same time, Canon also stated that it will strive to provide compensation plans and humane care that are higher than the legal standards.

The final plan will be officially announced on the day after consensus is reached.

  In its heyday, Canon Zhuhai had tens of thousands of employees, but now it has shrunk by 90%.

While the number of employees continues to decline, the number of lenses, digital cameras and digital video cameras produced by Canon Zhuhai has also declined year after year.

According to the "Canon Zhuhai 2020 Annual Environmental Report", as of the end of 2020, the company has invested a total of 220 million US dollars.

In 2020, it will produce 12.29 million lenses, 1.029 million digital cameras, and 94,000 digital video cameras.

That's a far cry from the $1.3 billion in annual sales the plant had previously achieved.

  It is understood that the Zhuhai High-tech Zone Management Committee has now intervened to coordinate the negotiation between enterprises and employees.

It is reported that many companies have now provided thousands of jobs.

Canon said that with the support of the management committee, it has made great efforts to coordinate the employment placement of employees, established a special organization, and actively provided high-quality jobs in the same region.

  Are Smartphones Killing Digital Cameras?

  The abrupt termination of the camera production chain at Canon's Zhuhai factory is somewhat embarrassing.

Some photography enthusiasts told reporters that the Canon card camera was very popular in those days, and many families would buy one. It is easy to carry and takes good pictures.

However, with the rise of smartphones, digital cameras are no longer needed, because a mobile phone can solve many problems, especially photography.

  In fact, in addition to Canon cameras, many digital camera brands that were prosperous in the past have long stopped related production lines.

According to public information, in 2017, Nikon China announced to stop the operation of Nikon Optical Instrument (China) Co., Ltd., which is mainly engaged in the manufacture of digital cameras and components for digital cameras; in 2018, Casio announced to withdraw from the card machine production business; In 2008, it also announced that the Shenzhen factory would cease operations.

  Some industry insiders pointed out that in today's era of smartphone dominance, digital cameras, especially small digital cameras, have quietly "retired".

Over the years, with the high development of smartphones, the quality of mobile phone photography has become the main focus of major mobile phone manufacturers in the mobile phone industry to "get out of the circle" and "absorb fans". With the advent of the 5G era, various advanced technologies emerge one after another. It has also made a qualitative leap in mobile phone photography technology, and the progress brought by innovative technology has also benefited both manufacturers and consumers. Naturally, more people will choose mobile phones instead of cameras, just like the Walkman that listened to songs in the past. , CD players, etc. are also replaced by smart phones.

  According to relevant statistics, the global digital camera shipments in 2020 will only be more than 8 million units, which is far less than the shipments of mobile phone manufacturers such as Samsung, Apple, and Huawei, and even less than any of the three manufacturers mentioned above. volume.

And, with rising sensor prices due to chip shortages, there are forecasts that the global digital camera market may get tougher in 2022.

  Due to the sluggish camera market, Canon's financial reports have not been good in recent years.

Data shows that Canon’s net sales have declined for three consecutive years, from 4 trillion yen in 2017 to 3.2 trillion yen in 2020, and operating profit has also experienced two consecutive years of decline, from 342.5 billion in 2018. The yen fell to 110.5 billion yen in 2020.

Canon is also constantly transforming, actively expanding the layout of diversified businesses, extending the related industrial chain, and office business such as printing has become the backbone of Canon's business.

  According to the third quarter financial report data released by Canon Group in 2021, Canon's printing business achieved revenue of 459.2 billion yen, a year-on-year increase of 6.80%; the imaging business achieved revenue of 153.8 billion yen, a year-on-year increase of 9.30%; medical business The field achieved revenue of 115.7 billion yen, a year-on-year increase of 9.80%; industrial equipment and other business areas achieved revenue of 130.4 billion yen, a year-on-year increase of 25.60%.

According to public information, by 2020, the printing business has accounted for 57.10% of the company's total annual turnover.

Some analysts believe that in the field of imaging business, Canon's high-end SLR demand is still huge, and the demand for network cameras is also increasing due to the impact of the epidemic. In recent years, medical imaging has also become Canon's focus. is also expanding.

  Some industry viewpoints point out that in the fast-developing economic wave, how enterprises should hold the "oars" in their hands and break out of the siege in line with the trend of the times is not only a problem that Canon needs to think about, but also a problem that major companies need to think about in the future. .