• Kyodo

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Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. will transfer all of its digital camera manufacturing operations to China, the official China Daily reported Friday.

“Our goal is to turn China into one of the world’s digital camera manufacturing centers,” Shigeyuki Seki, senior executive officer of the firm’s China business section, was quoted as saying.

Konica Minolta has 11 subsidiaries in China with more than 10,000 employees. It had sales of 11.36 billion yuan ($1.37 billion) last year.

The Japanese company aims to increase its share of China’s digital camera market from 5 percent to 15 percent in 2005.

The firm will set up a business consulting office in Shenzhen, southern Guangdong Province, to help expand its sales, the news report added.

Meanwhile, Konica Minolta is building a second factory in Dalian, northeastern Liaoning Province, to produce lenses for mobile phones, said Shinichiro Kuroiwa, president of Konica Minolta Optical Products (Shanghai) Co.

The new factory, with an investment of more than 200 million yuan, will be able to make about 3 million lenses a year when it starts up this month, the China Daily said.

The company, along with its existing Dalian factory, will manufacture a total of 5 million mobile phone lenses.

All of the lenses will be exported to Japan, with some to be sold locally in the future, Kuroiwa reportedly said.

Itochu-Ting Hsin tieup

Kyodo News Trading house Itochu Corp. will team up with Chinese food company Ting Hsin International Group as part of its planned business expansion into the country’s vast food market, Itochu officials said Friday.

In line with a basic agreement they reached in September 2002, Itochu and Ting Hsin said they will together operate a convenience store chain and promote joint restaurant and distribution projects.

The companies will set up a joint venture by the end of the year to launch a convenience store chain in China. They hope to open 200 outlets in the first two years.

Itochu and its convenience store unit, FamilyMart Co., are expected to take a combined 49 percent in the venture. Itochu may also open bakery cafe-style shops and barbecued beef restaurants by exploiting Ting Hsin’s fast-food chain, which has about 300 outlets across China.

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