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September 15, 2009

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Canon increasing its local work force

CANON Inc plans to protect its market position as the No. 1 camera seller in China by increasing its work force on the mainland this year and next.

The Japanese company said yesterday it will hire about 75 more staff this year, bringing new recruits in 2009 to 400, and will add up to 500 people in 2010. Canon currently employs about 1,300 people in China.

The world's biggest camera maker said it stands by its forecast for a 20 percent increase in revenue from China operations this year, despite the global recession.

About 60 percent of the new staff will go into sales to help Canon expand its printer, video recorder and compact camera businesses in China next year, Hisahiro Minokawa, Canon China's vice president, said.

"We have to have a reserve of talent so we are poised to be in a winning position when the economy rebounds," said Minokawa.

Canon China has held recent recruitment drives in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, according to Katie Li, senior manager of Canon China's human resources department.

Canon's expansion comes as the business of office machines has been hard hit by companies cutting back on information technology spending.

Canon China's average annual growth has exceeded 30 percent in recent years. Camera sales have started to rebound in the past few months following the launch of new products and heavier promotion, industry insiders said.

Canon currently has about 27 percent of China's domestic market, with Sony and Samsung in second and third places, according to CCID Consulting, a Beijing-based research firm.

Canon launched six new personal products and one picture printer in Shanghai last month. The new IXUS and PowerShot models offer touch screens and super wide view.

"Our target next year is to sell more printers in China," said Minokawa. "They are going to be aimed at Chinese families, not only offices."



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