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Part 6: Canon Brazil aims to create a society where everyone can live happily under the concept of "coexistence"

In the sixth episode, we spoke with Shohei Korizawa, Senior Director of Canon Brazil.

The company's office is located in a corporate building next to the Conceição metro station, a short distance from Paulista Avenue where many Japanese companies are based, and where many Japanese people live. In Brazil, in addition to selling Canon products such as cameras, multifunction copiers, and printers, the company is also focusing on selling solutions (methods for solving business problems) that incorporate the company's AI technology.

Business development in Brazil differs from Europe and the United States

The flagship product, the camera "R100"

About half a century ago, for Japanese immigrants in Brazil, owning a Canon camera made in Japan was a status symbol. Canon do Brasil was established in 1974 with the hopes of such Japanese immigrants. Next year will mark the company's half-century anniversary in Brazil, and to date it has sold Canon cameras, printers, and multifunction devices imported from Japan.

Canon's cameras and multifunction copiers have the largest market share in the world, and also in the United States. Not only Canon, but Japanese companies have a large share of the global market share in this industry, with over 90% of cameras and 60% of multifunction copiers. The main reason for this is that companies other than Japanese companies are not good at manufacturing the small precision equipment needed for parts. Therefore, many of their competitors overseas are Japanese companies.

Canon is a global leader, but in Brazil, the brand awareness and market share of its non-camera products is low compared to other regions. The reason for this is that many of the company's products are high-spec models that are popular in developed countries, so they are more expensive than other companies' products. In Brazil, there is a demand for inexpensive products, and Canon does not have many products that meet those needs.

In addition, business development in Brazil differs from that in the US and Europe, where rental services for office multifunction printers, which require a small monthly investment, are the norm, and a business model that includes after-sales service has been established. Although the company has been plagued by problems unique to Brazil, such as non-payment or delays in rental fees and the circulation of defective counterfeit ink using the Canon name, the efforts of Japanese people and the trust in the Japanese brand have helped it secure contracts.

In addition to selling Canon products, Canon is particularly popular in Brazil for its workflow system services using AI solutions tailored to customer needs. The company has been highly praised for its efficient and paperless operations using the advanced technology it has developed through its manufacturing, allowing users to search for and print necessary documents reliably anytime and anywhere, and for its detailed services that allow users to quickly retrieve data in the medical field.

Unexpected sales growth during the pandemic

Shohei Korizawa, Senior Director

Korizawa was posted to Brazil in 2018 and has been forced to respond to crises as the company's manager from before the pandemic to the present. Immediately after the pandemic, many companies restricted employees from coming to the office and stopped office activities, which caused sales of office equipment to halt. Just when it seemed like dark clouds were beginning to gather, sales of home printers skyrocketed as people switched to home offices.

In addition, the cameras that the company sells directly in Brazil are priced at the regular price, including customs duties, but the Brazilian market is circulated with cheap, tax-free products sourced via Paraguay, which normally absorb sales. However, distribution from Paraguay stopped for about a year and a half after the pandemic began, allowing the company's products to share the Brazilian market.

As a result, sales increased more than usual during the pandemic. "For a living, unpredictable events occur," says Korizawa.

The flagship product, the Inkjet printer "GX7010"

"Symbiosis" is a globally shared corporate philosophy

Canon aims to create a society where all people can live and work together happily, regardless of culture, custom, language or ethnicity, based on the concept of "symbiosis." In each conference room in the Brazilian office, the names of six states around the world, including "Brazil" and "Japan," are written in both Japanese and Portuguese, creating a warm atmosphere.

A room in the office with the name "Africa" ​​written in both Japanese and Portuguese.

Even before the need for ESG (environmental, social, and governance) initiatives was recognized, the company was already taking environmental concerns into account in its own little ways, such as collecting and recycling ink cartridges and picking up trash on Santos Beach with employees' families as a social activity.

In the hanging name badge cases of the employees are placed, like talismans, signs explaining "symbiosis" and another of the company's philosophies, "the spirit of the three self-reliances (spontaneity, self-governance, and self-awareness)" in Portuguese, and efforts to increase unity within the company are being made every day.

Canon Brazil
Official name: Canon do Brasil Indústria e Comércio, Ltda.
Location: Sao Paulo
Established: 1974
Number of employees: 262 (as of April 2023)
Business description: Sales of home and office printers, scanners, multifunction devices, commercial printing machines, cameras, lenses, imaging equipment, and solutions


*This article is reprinted from Brasil Nippou (June 17, 2023).


© 2023 Tomoko Oura

Brazil business Canon Brazil (firm) economics Japanese business enterprises management São Paulo
About this series

Japanese companies in Brazil have continued to operate even amid the harsh conditions of the pandemic. As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to calm down and new values ​​aimed at sustainability are required, this series will introduce the current status of Japanese companies active in Brazil. This is a project sponsored by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Brazil. Reprinted from the Newspaper Brasil Nippou.

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About the Author

Born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1979, he grew up in Kobe until graduating from high school. After graduating from university, he has been living in Sao Paulo, Brazil since 2001. He is currently working as a freelance reporter and writer for local media outlets aimed at Japanese people, as well as engaged in editing work.

(Updated September 2023)

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