Next I am going to look at Digital Cameras. I know that a number of big players here are also involved in other electronic products but there seem to be a fair number of brands that I have not seen in any other contexts.
So, the digital camera market is dominated by Japanese companies. Apart from Kodak and Samsung, all the brands in our top 10 originate from various different companies in Japan (mostly Tokyo). One surprise is the presence of the Mitsubishi Corp, the owner of Nikon. There are no European groups at all in this list.
This came as a bit of a surprise to me – the biggest player in the digital camera market is the Japanese giant Mitsubishi. As well as owning the Nikon brand, the group has its fingers in many other pies including brewing, cars, shipping, trading, oil and plastic. Worldwide, it employs over 350,000 people. Nikon also makes binoculars and microscopes.
The Korean conglomerate appears in this list too. There are not many electronic pies that it does not have some fingers in. Although the second largest company on our list here, Samsung is not really a famous name in the world of the digital camera.
The first of our Japanese electronics specialists is Panasonic and much like Samsung they are a general electronics company who don’t really have much of a reputation in the digital camera market. Unlike the next company on our list…
Sony is another large Japanese electronics company that is found on a few other lists here. The Sony Cybershot digital camera is well regarded within the industry and is making a splash in this market.
Canon is a publicly listed Japanese company that makes cameras, camcorders, printers and photocopiers. It has been in the digital camera business since the 1980′s and is the largest company in this list that is produces more specific optical equipment.
Like Canon, Fujifilm is another Japanese imaging company who sell cameras, photography chemicals and printers. It is based in Tokyo and employs over 35,000 people.
Ricoh is another Tokyo based company specialising in photography equipment and printers. In fact, it is one of the largest copier manufacturer in the world. The group also bought out the digital camera arm of Pentax and has retained that brand. It employs over 105,000 people worldwide.
Olympus is yet another Japanese optics company. As well as digital cameras, they also produce microscopes, thermometers and endoscopes. Indeed they are they world leader in endoscope sales. They have recently suffered a loss cover-up scandal that has decimated their share price.
Kodak is the only non-Asian company on this list and is also one of the smallest. Nonetheless this US group employ over 17,000 people and are a famous name in the world of photography. In recent times, however, Kodak has struggled somewhat with the change to Digital technology and has not made a profit since 2007.
Casio is another Japanese company and is the smallest on our list. Although it does make digital cameras, it is probably better known for its watches and calculators.