Fujifilm says it won't leave Chinese market just because of China-U.S. frictions

  • By CGTN
  • Aug. 20, 2020
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Fujifilm will not consider leaving an attractive and fast-growing market like China, and distancing itself from China is "nonsense," China head of Japanese printing and optics giant Fujifilm told CCTV on Tuesday.

Hironobu Taketomi, president of Fujifilm (China) Investment Co Ltd, said China-U.S. relations have seen some twists after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Fujifilm doesn't want to be affected by politics.

According to Taketomi, achieving joint development with China is a long-term strategy of the company, which will not change due to the impact of the epidemic.

Fujifilm is a technology-driven company that operates in multiple industries, from the familiar fields of printing, x-rays and optical components, to new areas for the firm, such as healthcare, new materials, regenerative medicine and even cosmetics.

"As a manufacturing company, Fujifilm values the Chinese market, and will not consider withdrawing from such a huge market," said Taketomiin in an exclusive interview with CCTV. "It can be said that keeping a distance from China is nonsense."

In June, Abe's government earmarked two billion U.S. dollars to help Japanese companies shift production home as part of a massive stimulus package to cope with the pandemic, with the economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura saying: "we need to make supply chains more robust and diverse, broadening our supply sources and increasing domestic production."

Many other Japanese firms said shifting output back home is simply impractical and uneconomical. They need to be physically present in China because much of what they are making is ultimately for the Chinese consumer, and to meet the demands of "just-in-time" production, which prioritizes short delivery times for efficient manufacturing.

Zong Changqing, a Ministry of Commerce of China official, last Thursday said that according to preliminary information, more than 30 of the 87 companies in the first batch of Japanese government subsidies have invested in China, and there is no closure of them so far. 

Taketomi said that China's economic growth rate, at 3.2 percent, in the second quarter, made him deeply feel that China's economy is recovering vigorously, and keeps an upbeat outlook on the development of China's economy.

According to Taketomi, the sales of Fujifilm's imaging products in China during the epidemic have been significantly affected, while its main business has transitioned to the fields like medical equipment and high-performance materials. "Since April, as the epidemic situation in China improves, the company's sales have increased steadily."

"I strongly feel that one of the characteristics of China is that the country's overall development goals are very clear, companies moving in this direction can seize huge and dynamic business opportunities," he said.

Taketomi believes that it is very important for companies to find areas consistent with the country's development direction and make targeted investments. For example, China leads the world in the field of 5G, and Fujifilm is also committed to technologies and materials that are expected to boost 5G construction and focuses on combining its medical diagnostic equipment and image processing technologies with AI and IoT technologies.

"Fujifilm entered China in 2001, which happened to be the year China joined the WTO. In the past two decades, it is fortunate to grow together with the Chinese economy," Taketomi said.

Taketomi insisted that although it may take some time for China to recover export trade hit by the pandemic overseas, the country's policy of accelerating the construction of new infrastructure such as information networks can further boost its economy.

"We hope to try our best to contribute to China's economic development," he said.

In addition, Fujifilm will participate in the third China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai in November, which is the third time the company is joining the expo.