Business / Corporate

Casio withdraws from digital cameras as smartphones eat into sales

Kyodo

Casio Computer Co. said it will stop making digital compact cameras because demand is being eroded by the spread of smartphones with high-definition cameras.

The wristwatch giant unveiled the world’s first digital camera with a liquid-crystal display in March 1995 and gained a reputation for its advanced technology.

But in the past year through March, shipments of its Exilim and other digital camera models fell to 550,000 — 200,000 units below the company’s sales target and about a 10th of its sales peak in fiscal 2007.

Casio Computer booked an extraordinary loss of ¥4.6 billion for fiscal 2017 in connection with the withdrawal, saying it was difficult to restructure its digital camera business due to the spread of camera-equipped smartphones.

However, Casio Computer President Kazuhiro Kashio told a news conference Wednesday that the company will use its digital camera technology to focus on imaging opportunities in sports and medicine.

Unlike digital camera rivals such as Canon Inc. and Sony Corp., Casio Computer has not produced single-lens reflex or mirrorless digital cameras.