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Future of camera companies could be found in healthcare technologies


Nikon already produces medical instruments like this high-end microscope system, but it plans to invest around $2 billion to strengthen its medical business by 2017, mainly through mergers and acquisitions. (Credit: Nikon)

With traditional camera sales continue to face hardship against smartphones, as more consumers prefer to use their mobile devices for everyday photography, camera makers could shift more of their focus toward healthcare, such as medical imaging. That, according to the Wall Street Journal, is what Nikon Corp. of Japan is going after. 

Nikon, like its fellow camera makers, are seeing declining camera sales across all segments. Soon-to-be CEO Kazuo Ushida said that Nikon plans to spend around $2 billion to strengthen its medical business, mainly through the acquisition of medical-related businesses over the next three years. Nikon will also pursue research-and-development. Its pedigree in superb optics lends itself naturally to medical imaging, but Nikon could venture beyond that.

By the end of 2017, Nikon hopes to generate revenue of $1.28 billion from its medical division as well as other new businesses. Nikon joins many other electronics companies in searching for new product categories to offset the slump in sales of traditionally moneymaking products. It’s not just camera companies that are looking to healthcare for their future: Toshiba and Hitachi are also targeting M&A opportunities, while Nikon’s imaging rivals Canon and Olympus are also strengthening their medical businesses.

According to the WSJ, Nikon will differentiate itself by using “its prowess in semiconductor lithography technology to develop, for example, DNA chips – a hot technology for genetic research.” Nikon currently has a lineup of microscopes and other scientific instruments, but, by 2017, we could see Nikon play an even bigger role in this field.

(Via Wall Street Journal)

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