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Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
Rajita Chaudhuri
K.K.Srivastava Guest Column
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“We want to be at 5-6% of Canon‘s Global Revenues before 2020”
Kenasaku Konishi’s past credentials in the Singapore and Hong Kong divisions of canon made him the headquarter’s top pick for the company’s India operations. So far, this soft spoken yet task oriented leader has not let them down
He is a man credited with an immaculate vision and a flair for turning tough markets into profitable hunting ground for his company Canon – the $42 billion Japanese imaging solutions behemoth. And he is doing the same in India now. Currently President & CEO of Canon India, Kensaku Konishi is truly a battle hardened man. What started as a $750-a-month salary job in 1978 has turned into an illustrious sojourn of almost 34 years. The high started from 2003, when he rose to the position of executive vice president at the Canon Singapore office (also the holding company of the Indian venture). Under him, Canon Singapore consistently posted double-digit growths. This led to him becoming a CEO at 48 year of age for Canon Hong Kong in 2004. Again, he proved his golden touch: Canon Hong Kong posted its highest sales at HK$2 billion in 2006.

These were the credentials, which made him the natural choice for the CEO of Canon India, and he was posted here in 2007 to brighten Canon’s prospects in this rapidly growing yet tough to crack market. In less than 5 years under his leadership, the company’s revenue surged from Rs.380 crore in 2006 to roughly Rs.1600 crore in 2011. But the avid golfer in him is aiming for a long shot.

“India is a dynamic market. Though it currently accounts for less than a percent of Canon’s global revenue, we are aiming to reach 1% by the end of 2012 with a sales target of Rs.2500 crore,” informs Konishi. Though Canon started its India operations in 1997, it initially focused on its lucrative printer and copier business. Digital cameras were brought into the picture only in 2004 behind its key competitors Sony and Nikon (whose products were already available via the third party routes). But it quickly upped the ante in its camera business, and is now the third largest player in the space after Sony and Nikon with an 18% market share.

The last year was sluggish for its core copier and printing business (which contributes around 60% to revenues). The division saw a lowered demand thanks to a lull in PC sales, but the camera segment (40% share in revenues) more than made up for it. The digital camera market reached 3.4 million units last year and is expected to touch 5 million units in 2012, while the Digital SLR segment is likely to double its sales to reach 2 lakh units this year. Canon has slightly less than 50% share in the latter. Konishi feels that the time is just right for Canon to move into the next phase of growth. “With rapid economic growth, more Indian consumers are getting into that league where they will appreciate Canon products,” he explains. Besides, with DSLR’s share at just 3% of the overall camera market in India as against a global average of roughly 10%, Canon feels it has a lot to gain in that segment as well.

Even its printer and copier businesses are giving market leader HP a tough run. In the laser printer market, Canon claims 35% share against HP’s 40% – a remarkable feat from single digit share 3-4 years back. Its multi-function device (copier, printer, fax rolled into one) is doing well too, and is the no.1 in the market space with 25% share. Currently, Canon has 40 large enterprise accounts, and aims to add another 30 by 2012, and take the efficiency and productivity of its Managed Product Services (MPS) concept to small enterprises via channel partners as well. And Konishi is already thinking of his next move: getting more of Canon’s other products into India.

Canon is investing heavily in creating the right infrastructure to tap more customers. Currently, it has around 600 primary channel partners and 2000 secondary shops. It wants to double the secondary shops to around 4000 by 2012. It also has 13 national retail chain partners, seven level-IV Master Service Centres and over 100 authorised service centres for user proximity. To drive appreciation of high-end Canon products and give consumers a touch, feel and decide experience, it has also opened 60 exclusive Canon Image Square outlets, its own retail chain to drive traction. Over 50% of showrooms are in tier 2 & 3 towns like Nashik, Jaipur, Cochin and Goa.

Canon has actively taken the advertising and PR route to create consumer connect. It’s aiming to raise its marketing budget by almost 50% in 2012, and plans to spend nearly Rs.150 crore during the year. And the year also might see it going for more brand ambassadors for product specific promotional campaigns, besides the time tested Sachin Tendulkar, who has been with the brand for over 4 years. But the company is not too keen on going digital in a big way as it feels that this can erode its brand appeal. And despite its lofty revenue goals, it doesn’t want to play on low-end/low-margin products with questionable service support issues either.

Konishi’s style of leadership, which involves consensus building and team-oriented execution has been quite successful. Most senior managers are with the company for over 9 years. When he retires, he expects to divide his year equally between playing golf in Malaysia and enjoying hot Springs in Japan. But before that, he wants to enshrine a certain attitude & provide a specific direction to Canon India’s management team – which will enable them to achieve his ultimate vision of the Indian market contributing at least 5-6% of Canon’s global revenues before 2020. For Konishi, that milestone will certainly count as his career’s crowning glory.

Onkar Pandey           
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