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Canon Inc.


Canon Inc.

Canon Inc.
Native name
Public (K.K.)
Traded as TYO: 7751
Industry Electronics
Founded Tokyo, Japan
(10 August 1937) as Seikikōgaku kenkyūsho (jap. 精機光學研究所, Precision Optical Industry Co. Ltd.)
Founder Takeshi Mitarai, Goro Yoshida, Saburo Uchida and Takeo Maeda, Reasey, Rithy
Headquarters Ōta, Tokyo, Japan
Area served
Key people
Fujio Mitarai
(Chairman & CEO)
Products SLR cameras, still cameras, photocopiers, digital cameras, camcorders, printers, scanners, lenses, LCDs, ophthalmic instruments, magnetic heads, micro motors
Revenue ¥3.557 trillion (2011)[1]
¥378.071 billion (2011)[1]
Profit ¥248.630 billion (2011)[1]
Total assets ¥3.930 trillion (2011)[1]
Total equity ¥2.551 trillion (2011)[1]
Number of employees
198,307 (2011)[2]
Divisions Office Business Unit, Consumer Business Unit, Industry and Others Business Unit
Subsidiaries Océ
Website .com.canonwww

Canon Inc. (キヤノン株式会社 Kyanon Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese multinational corporation specialized in the manufacture of imaging and optical products, including cameras, camcorders, photocopiers, steppers, computer printers and medical equipment. Its headquarters are located in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan.[3]

Canon has a primary listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the TOPIX index. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange. At the beginning of 2015, Canon was the tenth largest public company in Japan when measured by market capitalization.[4]


  • Name 1
  • History 2
    • 1937 to 1970 2.1
    • 1970 to 2009 2.2
    • 2010 to present 2.3
  • Products 3
    • Digital cameras 3.1
    • Digital copiers 3.2
    • Printers 3.3
    • Flash units 3.4
    • Scanners 3.5
    • Computers 3.6
    • Camcorders 3.7
    • Virtual Reality Headset 3.8
  • Operations 4
  • Environmental record 5
  • Charitable activities 6
  • Sponsorships 7
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


The company was originally named Seikikōgaku kenkyūsho (jpn. 精機光学研究所, Precision Optical Industry Co. Ltd.). In 1934 it produced the Kwanon, a prototype for Japan’s first-ever 35 mm camera with a focal plane based shutter.[5] In 1947 the company name was changed to Canon Camera Co., Inc.,[5] shortened to Canon Inc. in 1969. The name Canon comes from Buddhist bodhisattva Guan Yin (観音, Kannon in Japanese), previously transliterated as Kuanyin, Kwannon, or Kwanon in English.


1937 to 1970

The origins of Canon date back to the founding of Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory in Tokyo in 1937 by Takeshi Mitarai, Goro Yoshida, Saburo Uchida and Takeo Maeda. During its early years the company did not have any facilities to produce its own optical glass, and its first cameras incorporated Nikkor lenses from Nippon Kogaku K.K. (the later Nikon Corporation).[6]

Between 1933 and 1936 ‘The Kwanon’, a copy of the Leica design, Japan’s first 35 mm focal plane-shutter camera, was developed in prototype form.[7] In 1940 Canon developed Japan's first indirect X-ray camera. Canon introduced a field zoom lens for television broadcasting in 1958 and in 1959 introduced the Reflex Zoom 8, the world’s first movie camera with a zoom lens, and the Canonflex.

In 1961 Canon introduced the Rangefinder camera, Canon 7, and 50mm 1:0.95 lens in a special bayonet mount. In 1964 Canon introduced the 'Canola 130', the first Japanese made 10-key calculator, a substantial improvement on the design of the British Bell Punch company, which introduced the first fully electronic calculator two years earlier with the Sumlock Anita Mark 8 unit. In 1965 Canon introduced the Canon Pellix, a single lens reflex (SLR) camera with a semi-transparent stationary mirror which enabled the taking of pictures through the mirror.

1970 to 2009

In 1971 Canon introduced the F-1, a high-end SLR camera, and the FD lens range. In 1976 Canon launched the AE-1, the world’s first camera with an embedded micro-computer.

In 1982 "Wildlife as Canon Sees It" print ads first appeared in National Geographic magazine. Canon introduced the world’s first Inkjet printer using bubble jet technology in 1985. Canon introduced Canon Electro-Optical System (EOS) in 1987, named after the goddess of the dawn. EOS 650 autofocus SLR camera is introduced. Also in 1987 the Canon Foundation was established. In 1988 Canon introduced 'Kyosei philosophy'.[8] The EOS 1 Flagship Professional SLR line was launched in 1989.[9] In the same year the EOS RT, the world's first AF SLR with a fixed, semi-transparent pellicle mirror, was unveiled.

In 1992 Canon launched the EOS 5, the first-ever camera with eye-controlled AF, and the PowerShot 600, its first digital camera.[9] In 1995 Canon introduced the first commercially available SLR lens with internal image stabilization, EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. EOS-1N RS, the world's fastest AF SLR camera with a continuous shooting speed of 10 frame/s at the time. Based on the EOS-1N, the EOS-1N RS has a fixed, semi-transparent pellicle mirror with a hard coat. In 1996 Canon introduced a pocket-sized digital camera with the Advanced Photo System, named ELPH in America and IXUS in Europe. Canon entered the digital video camcorder market in 1997.

In 2004 Canon introduced the XEED SX50 LCD projector. Canon introduced its first high-definition camcorder in 2005.

In November 2009 Canon made a €730 million (US$1.1 billion) all-cash offer for the Dutch printer maker Océ.[10] Canon had acquired majority ownership of Océ by March 2010,[11] and completed the acquisition of 100% of shares in Océ by the end of 2011.[12]

2010 to present

In 2010 Canon acquired Tereck Office Solutions, Inc.[13]

On 16 March 2010, Canon announced that it was seeking to acquire a new .canon generic top-level domain.[14] In the third quarter of 2012, Canon's global market share in the sale of printers, copiers and multifunction devices amounted to 20.90 percent.[15]

In early 2013, Canon USA moved into a new $500 million headquarters in Melville, New York.[16][17]

In February 2014, Canon announced it would acquire Texas-based Molecular Imprints Inc, a developer of nanoprint lithography systems, for an amount speculated to be around $98 million.[18]

On 13 June 2014, Canon announced it had acquired Danish IP Surveillance VMS software company Milestone Systems. Milestone provides open platform software to allow video management from various vendors in a single interface, therefore the company will operate as a separate entity.[19]

On 10 February 2015, Canon announced that it has intentions to buy Swedish Security Camera maker Axis Communications for $2.83 billion.[20] On 23 February 2015, Axis Communications reacted to this news and admitted that it has indeed got a purchase proposal from Canon. It further clarified that it has been given time to react till 31 March 2015. Canon expects a positive reaction from Axis Communication on this issues after the said date.


Canon manufactures consumer imaging products including printers, scanners, binoculars, compact digital cameras, film SLR and digital SLR cameras, lenses and video camcorders.

The "Business Solutions" division offers multi-functional printers, black and white and color office printers, large format printers, scanners, black and white and color production printers, as well as software to support these products.

DeVito/Verdi was hired for an award winning, humorous campaign with the concept “If business were that easy, you wouldn't need us,” using old office footage to describe the new ways Canon Business Solutions was bringing copiers and office supplies forward.

Lesser known Canon products include medical, optical and broadcast products, including ophthalmic and x-ray devices, broadcast lenses, semiconductors, digital microfilm scanners, and handy terminals.

Digital cameras

Canon has been manufacturing and distributing digital cameras since 1984, starting with the RC-701. The RC series was followed by the PowerShot and Digital IXUS series of digital cameras. Canon also developed the EOS series of digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR) which includes high-end professional models.

Canon introduced Thermal Transition Copying as a part of the manufacturing process for all of its cameras. This process allows a camera's polymer casing to very slightly change temperature through an exothermic reaction triggered by electronic sensors, to assist in the prevention of condensation inside the camera; a common problem experienced when using an SLR camera in certain conditions.

Related with consumers' trend of switching compact cameras to smartphones, in Q1 2013 Canon Inc. operating profit fell 34 percent year-on-year.[21]

Digital copiers

Canon's largest division in terms of revenue is its multifunction copier division. Canon distributes its consumer and home office imageCLASS line though retail outlets and professional grade imageRUNNER series through subsidiary Canon Business Solutions and independent distributors. The professional grade series ranges from small table tops to large digital presses.


For many years, Canon were the principal makers of the print engines found in industry-standard laser printers. The first models of Apple LaserWriter and the equivalent products made by HP used the Canon LBP-CX engine. The next models (LaserWriter II series, LaserJet II series) used the Canon LBP-SX engine. Later models used the Canon LBP-LX, LBP-EX, LBP-PX engines and many other Canon print engines.

Flash units

Canon produces a range of high-output flash units for its DSLR cameras, including the 270EX, 320EX, 430EX Speedlites and the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite. Canon also produces macro flash units including the Macro Twin Lite and the Macro Ring Lite.


Canon manufactures a wide range of flatbed scanners, film scanners, and document scanners for home and business use, including the Canon Canoscan 8800F.


Canon introduced two MSX home computer models in 1983, the V-10 and the V-20. Both offered just the minimum range of the MSX standards without any additional features. The V-20 was able to receive shooting data from the T90 Canon camera with the Data Memory Back T90 expansion.

Canon also sold a Canon AS400 PC 640x480 color display computer based on 8086 processor using CPM or MSDOS. Options included a 5mb Hard Drive. (shortly before release of the IBM PC).


See List of Canon camcorders

Virtual Reality Headset

Canon is developing a prototype virtual reality headset (Canon VR). The headset offers a wider viewing angle (120 degrees) than other VR devices but requires handles rather than a head strap. The headset is not yet available on the market.[22]


Canon's world headquarters are located at 30-2 Shimomaruko 3-chome, Ohta-ku, Tokyo 146-8501, Japan. Canon has regional headquarters in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Japan, Asia and Oceania (including Australia & New Zealand). Canon Europe has two principal subsidiaries: Canon Europa NV (based in Amstelveen, Netherlands) and Canon Europe Ltd. (based in Uxbridge, UK).

Canon is organised into three principal business segments: the Office Business Unit (the products of which include copying machines, digital production printers, large format inkjet printers, laser printers, and multi-function devices); the Consumer Business Unit (the products of which include broadcasting equipment, calculators, compact digital cameras, digital SLR cameras, digital video camcorders, image scanners, interchangeable lenses, inkjet multifunction printers, and single function inkjet printers); and the Industry and Others Business Unit (the products of which include computers, handy terminals, LCD lithography equipment, magnetic heads, medical imaging equipment, micromotors, ophthalmic equipment, and semiconductor lithography equipment).[23]

On 26 December 2003, Canon Inc. announced restructuring plans for three domestic Canon Group companies. The restructuring involved the merger of two companies and the spinning off of 1.[24]

Canon generated total revenues of US$45,608 million in 2011, of which 53.9% was by the Office Business Unit, 36.9% by the Consumer Business Unit and 11.8% by the Industry and Others Business Unit.[23][note 1] In the same year, 31.3% of revenues were generated in Europe, 27.0% in the Americas, 22.2% in Asia and Oceania (ex. Japan) and 19.5% in Japan.[23]

Canon invested a total of US$3,946 million in research and development in 2011, equivalent to 8.7% of sales.[23] In 2011, Canon was granted 2,813 patents in the United States, the third-highest number of any company (after IBM and Samsung Electronics).[23]

Environmental record

A report by the environmental organization Clean Air-Cool Planet puts Canon at the top of a list of 56 companies the survey conducted on climate-friendly companies.[25]

Canon has also launched three new calculators in Europe, called "Green Calculators", which are produced in part from recycled Canon copiers.[26]

The company has a corporate social responsibility strategy in Europe named ‘Green is just a shade of blue’. The strategy places emphasis on green issues being ‘a small part of the bigger, bluer picture’, and therefore gives equal importance to other areas, including ethics, attitudes, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, education, science and social welfare.

The Canon Group has an environmental charter which looks at ‘offering products with a lower environmental burden through improvements in resource efficiency, while eliminating anti-social activities that threaten the health and safety of mankind and the environment.’[27]

Charitable activities

In 2008 Canon donated financial support to help the estimated 5 million people displaced by the earthquake that hit China’s Sichuan province in May 2008.[28]

1 million RMB was donated to the Red Cross Society of China shortly after the earthquake. Canon Inc, Japan, soon followed with a donation of 10 million RMB.[28]


In 1983 came the first title sponsors of the English football league The Football League, which was named The Canon League from 1983 to 1986, when the sponsorship was taken over by the Today newspaper. From 1967-2003 Canon sponsored the Greater Hartford Open [Now Travelers Championship].

Between 1985 and 1993, Canon sponsored Williams in Formula One while they won World Drivers Championships for Nelson Piquet (1987), Nigel Mansell (1992) and Alain Prost (1993) and Four World Constructors Championships (1986,1987,1992,1993).

Since 2006 Canon has been helping the Red Cross provide support to thirteen Red Cross National Societies across Europe, with focus on youth projects. Support from Canon includes financial contributions and donations of imaging equipment; including cameras, copying machines and digital radiography devices, as well as volunteer activities.[29]

Canon Europe has been a partner of

  • Canon official site
  • Canon's Online Camera Museum
  • Canon Electronic Business Machines (H.K.) Co., Ltd.

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e "2010 Form 10-K, canon". Google. 
  2. ^ "Canon Historical Data (consolidated)" (PDF). Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "Corporate Profile." Canon. Retrieved on 13 January 2009.
  4. ^ "Historical market caps of the largest Japanese companies". Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "The History of Canon 1933 - 1961". Archived from the original on 2010-03-13. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Official web site of the Canon Camera Museum
  7. ^ Kwanon name.
  8. ^ "'Kyosei philosophy'". Archived from the original on 2009-03-07. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Canon museum -Canon
  10. ^ Nicholson, Chris V. (16 November 2009). "Canon to Buy Océ, the Biggest European Printer Maker". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Canon's Takeover of Oce Completed". Industry Week. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Canon to Combine $1 Billion Oce Purchase After Delay". Bloomberg. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Canon U.S.A. Acquires North Carolina-Based Tereck Office Solutions, Inc.". Taume News. 17 May 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "Canon Global : News | News Releases". 16 March 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Print industry crisis Retrieved 07. February 2013.
  16. ^ Madore, James T. (18 February 2013). "Canon Moves In".  
  17. ^ "A picture-perfect move".  
  18. ^ Kim, Chang-Ram (18 February 2014). "Canon says to buy U.S.'s Molecular Imprints". Reuters (Asia). Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  19. ^ "Canon Acquires Milestone to Make Major Advance in Network Video Surveillance Business". 13 June 2014. 
  20. ^ "Canon's shocking acquisition of Axis: is security industry turning tide?". 
  21. ^ "Canon Q1 operating profit dips on weaker compact camera sales". Reuters. 24 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "Eyes on with Canon’s handheld VR headset". Retrieved 2015-10-13. 
  23. ^ a b c d e "Annual Report 2011" (PDF). Canon. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  24. ^ "Canon Group Announces Restructuring in Japan". Archived from the original on 2005-04-28. 
  25. ^ Zabarenko, Deborah (19 June 2007). "Reuters report". Reuters. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  26. ^ Think green: Canon launches recycled calculator range. Retrieved on 2 September 2008
  27. ^ Canon environmental charter.
  28. ^ a b "Canon relief efforts for 2008 Sichuan earthquake". Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  29. ^ Red Cross sponsorship.
  30. ^ World Pres Photo sponsorship, World Press Photo sponsorship.


  1. ^ Percentages do not add up to 100% due to eliminations used in consolidated accounting.


See also


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