quot;The success of our four existing Greenwood
factories has enabled us to add Fujifilm's
primary product, color 35mm film, to the
growing list of goods produced by Fujifilm
Greenwood's excellent Associates…
… The growth of the Greenwood complex is
unparalleled in Fujifilm's history and is due
not only to our increasing presence in the
U.S. market, but also to South Carolina's
superior business environment.quot;
//Akira quot;Mikequot; Kumai, President of Fujifilm's
South Carolina operations
quot;We are very proud to announce the opening
of this new facility for packaging our Fujicolor
35mm film.quot; // Osamu quot;Samquot; Inoue
Those were happy days, for Greenwood and Fuji.
But at the same time, a threat to the entire film
business started to emerge…
But the concept of
having a LCD screen and
this design turned out to
be very attractive.
The Japanese camera firms now realized that
this was the way forward to a mass market for
digital imaging and started to invest heavily.
Fuji and the others worked jointly in an industry
association to solve critical technical issues.
Moreover, they made sure that the structure
was modular, so that each individual
component could be improved separately.
Instead of fighting battles about standards,
each company could instead focus on the
product and reducing R&D costs. This created
a healthy competition - each one
differentiated within the defined settings.
The modular, standardized structure
also implied that consumer electronics
companies could work
on each component.
Many other towns like Greenwood
suffered from the death of film.
In March 2008, Fuji stated that the
decline in film forced the firm to close
two more film processing plants.
The site in Crawfordsville, Indiana, lost 105 jobs.
These kind of layoffs can be particularly hard to
cope with for smaller towns…
quot;Several people are struggling with the closingsquot;
//David Long, Crawfordsville chamber of commerce
Many other Fuji sites throughout the world
have been closed over the last years.
A look at Fuji’s annual reports gives the
impression that the growth in digital
imaging did not entirely match the
company’s decline in film.
Below, you can see the revenues and operatin
income for Fuji’s ’imaging solutions’ business,
which includes both film and digital
photography (in billions of Yen).
Revenue Operating income
2002 746,6 48,7
2003 831 56,7
2004 815,5 43,5
2005 743 -7,1
2006 689,4 -75,7
2007 605,4 -42,6
2008 547,1 -2,4
The CEO, Mr. Shigetaka Komori made the
following statements in 2005:
”Over a two-year period beginning in 2005, we
poured approximately 200 billion Yen into carrying
out bold, worldwide structural reforms targeting the
Imaging Solutions segment.”
enjoying a sharp
improvement with a
sense of pride, we
cannot at all loosen
the reins on our
”In conclusion, I would like to thank or stakeholders
for their steadfast support and understanding as we
strive to achieve our goals.”
”Noteworthy examples of our progress include the
expanded marketing of digital cameras that
incorporate our new technologies to create superior
One gets the impression that this transformation
has been tough, both financially and emotionally.
Film had been the flagship of Fuji since
it was founded in 1934 and it had now
gone down to less than 3 percent.
As film declined and the market for digital
cameras became increasingly saturated, Fuji
chose to move further into medical imaging.
Once again, Fuji decided to expand in Greenwood.
“Fuji Photo Film, Inc. announced today that
its Medical Products Division in Greenwood
has begun totally-integrated manufacturing
of the newest generation of dry medical
imaging film for the North American market.”
“Additionally, the company
announced a $100 million
expansion of the PS Plate factory to
expand production of Computer-to-
Plate (CTP) printing plates for the
graphic arts industry.”
Fuji representative Mr. Watanabe
stated: “The production of digital
dry imaging film in Greenwood
gives Fujifilm the opportunity to
provide the North American medical
community with the world's newest
and best medical imaging products
from right here in South Carolina…
… Use of digital CTP printing plates in the U.S. and
Canada has grown ten-fold in the past four years
and now accounts for over 50% of the market
because they substantially increase our customers'
efficiency and productivity. This expansion will allow
us to expand CTP production to meet the growing
needs of our North American customers.quot;
And needless to say, Greenwood and South
Carolina were very happy about this:
Governor Mark Sanford:
quot;We're very pleased to see one of
our leading corporate citizens
continue to bring new products
and new expansions to our statequot;
quot;Fujifilm's $1.4 billion investment is
definitely a nice shot in the arm for our
economy as well as a great example of
what's to come if we continue our focus
on quality of life and improving our
state's underlying business climate.quot;
Summing up, it seems that both Fuji and Greenwood
survived the digital imaging revolution.
Many learnings emerge from this story,
both about how to handle a
technological shift and how societies
can harness the forces of globalization.
While entering digital imaging at an early
point, Fuji decided to wait with the big
investments until the Casio QV-10 camera
defined the core elements.
After this, Fuji invested aggressively in digital
imaging and built up their own competence in CCDs.
This enabled the company to be at the forefront,
which is necessary once a ’pixel war’ breaks out.
Producing components also implied that the
shift to mobile cameras became an
opportunity rather than a threat.
And once the pixel war was over, Fuji started to
focus on other performance attributes like optics.
segment was also
a way to leave the
In addition to this, Fuji showed a willingness
to cannibalize on its film business. This is
absolutely necessary – if Fuji hadn’t done it,
someone else would have…
The diversification efforts related to medical
imaging also implied that the company could
survive the decline in film.
Today, the ‘Imaging Solutions’ business accounts
for around 20 percent of Fuji’s revenues.
I’ve realized that everyone refers to books,
but no one reads them. Wikipedia is the
opposite, everyone reads it, but no one
refers to it. So I thought I’d start doing so…
Christian Sandström is a
PhD student at Chalmers
University of Technology in
Gothenburg, Sweden. He
writes and speaks about
disruptive innovation and