Canon plans 40 per cent hike in inkjet printer production

Canon will build a new factory in Thailand and expand another plant there as well

Canon is responding to strong global demand for inkjet printer products with plans to hike production by around 40 per cent in 2011, the company said Tuesday.

The Japanese precision electronics maker currently manufactures inkjet printer products at factories in Thailand and Vietnam. The Thai operations are the smaller of the two, with output pegged at 6 million units per year versus 13.5 million per year in Vietnam.

Canon will expand production in Thailand to match that of its Vietnam operations, said Richard Berger, a spokesman for Canon in Tokyo.

The company's existing factory will see output increase to 8 million units per year and that will be supplemented with a new factory capable of producing 5.5 million units per year. The factory represents an investment of $US170 million to Canon and will employ around 5,000 people.

Demand for inkjet printers grew 14 percent year-on-year in the April to June quarter, according to figures from IDC. The growth was the strongest the market has seen since late 2003 and helped inkjet technology claim two thirds of the printer market.

Canon was the world's second largest printer maker during the same period. It shipped 5.6 million units to give it a 19.3 per cent share of the $13.3 billion world market during the three-month period. Market leader Hewlett-Packard had a share double that of Canon, while third-ranked Seiko Epson had a 14 per cent share.

Expansion of printer manufacturing operations in Thailand is both in response to growing demand and anticipated further demand in the future, Canon said.

"Increasing demand expected in the future has created a pressing need for Canon to expand its production capacity for inkjet printer products," the company said in a statement.

Construction of the new plant will begin in January 2011 and it's expected to begin producing printers in October the same year.

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