Canon has partially closed its Zhuhai camera production facility in southern China, and the company is considering a full shutdown amid the shrinking COVID-19 digital camera market and chip shortages. happenning.
According to China Macroeconomics. Canon’s public relations representative, Shen Yue, cited “unprecedented difficulties” that forced them to come to this decision, and that despite the “joint efforts of the company and all employees , it was unable to reverse the situation.”
Closing Canon’s only facilities in mainland China
The Zhuhai facility is Canon’s only camera factory in China and has been in business for 32 years. Based on Reuters and YMCinema, if the full shutdown occurs, it will affect 1,317 employees. There is no word yet on the number affected by the partial closures.
“The headquarters has to adjust the general operating structure of the corporation,” continued Yue. “After careful consideration, a difficult decision has been made: to terminate the company’s production activities.”
Global Times says the popularity of smartphones in recent years is a major reason why the factory has been sluggish lately. As a note, Global Times is a tabloid published under the Chinese Communist Party and often publishes false information, so its coverage here should be noted. However, this reason has been a popular one among camera manufacturers around the globe for a while. Digital camera shipments have fallen to less than 10 million units from 120 million in the past 11 years, a 93% drop.
Global Times said investment in the Zhuhai plant reached $220 million at the end of 2020, and that year the company produced 12.29 million lenses, 1.03 million digital cameras and 94,000 video cameras. The shutdown of Zhuhai, in whole or in part, signals that Canon no longer needs supplies that can be manufactured there or that it intends to move production elsewhere.
Canon Focuses on Mirrorless Cameras, Not DSLRs
The factory closure comes not long after Canon’s CEO publicly announced that the EOS 1D X Mark III would be the company’s last flagship DSLR.
“Canon’s flagship SLR camera model is known as the “EOS-1” series, the first of which appeared in 1989,” a report from the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun wrote in late December, quoting Canon President and CEO, Fujio Mitarai. “In fact, the latest model ‘EOS-1D X Mark III’ to be released in 2020 will be the last model.”
While its 1DX Mark III is now a thing of the past, the company has no intention of stopping making DSLR cameras.
“Demand for entry-level and mid-tier SLR cameras is strong overseas, so we plan to continue developing and producing for the time being,” Mitarai made clear at the time.
It’s unclear if the company plans to produce any new models, and at what capacity the company plans to continue producing older models at present. Either way, its production probably won’t be in China as Canon is likely to cease operations there, or at least slow it down considerably.
Image credits: Title photo licensed via Depositphotos.