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Science and Technology

Fujifilm: from photography to digital imaging

Jun 29, 2022, 7:55 AM
Rose De La Cruz

Rose De La Cruz

Writer/Columnist

Japan-based Fujifilm aims to be the top total healthcare company. To think it began as a manufacturer of photo films and cameras and photocopying machines (until it acquired the top brand, Xerox) and then diversified in the medical field.

Tokyo-headquartered Fujifilm Holdings Corp. or Fujifilm was founded on January 20, 1934 first as a maker of films for photography as well as cameras and other supplies for photo hobbyists and professionals alike

Digital film imaging company Fujifilm expects its medical systems business to make up a significant portion of its global sales target of over P1 trillion by 2024. Its goal now is to become known as a “total healthcare company.”

Fujifilm, which began as photographic film manufacturer Fuji Photo Film, evolved over the pandemic to provide healthcare technologies like X-ray, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and endoscopy machines to Philippine hospitals.

“We now have medical devices, copiers, and graphic machines. We want to deliver how Fujifilm diversified,” said Ryo Nagaoka, president of Fujifilm Philippines, Inc., in a virtual roundtable with Business World on June 22.

In its tenth year of operations in the country, the company diversified into four segments: healthcare (medical equipment), materials (graphic systems, recording media), business innovation (office devices, printers), and imaging (cameras, photo printing).

Over the pandemic, Fujifilm has installed medical equipment, such as mobile X-ray machines, in private and government hospitals, most notably in the Philippine General Hospital.

“Even now we are still installing these. We have a variety of products [which] offer an entire solution proposal in order for hospitals to [have a] more flexible and effective workflow,” Nagaoka said.

Fujifilm offers equipment integrated with information technology systems. The company expanded its services after it acquired the diagnostic imaging business Hitachi, Ltd. in 2020, which also covered in-vitro diagnostic systems and the picture archiving and communications system.

It also recently secured Food and Drug Administration approvals for two products relevant to easing the pandemic crisis: the mobile digital X-ray system FDR Nano and the Fujifilm COVID-19 Ag Test Kit.

“With our variety of core technologies… and through innovation, we developed new products and services,” said Nagaoka. “Now we are centering our promotion in terms of our medical systems.”

History

When the digital realm came about, Fujifilm was among the first and most successful camera company to transition from film to digital and it is now one of the leading producers of APS-C mirrorless cameras and increasingly affordable medium format cameras.

It diversified through the year, starting in 2006 with its alliance with Noritsu to manufacture all of Fuji’s photofinishing hardware such as minilabs; in September that year it announced the establishment of a holding company—Fujifilm and Fuji Xerox and then in January 2018 it acquired 50.1 percent or controlling stake in Xerox for $6.2 billion, which was dropped but was pursued in 2019 with Fuji buying Xerox’s 25 percent stake.

In December 2019, it acquired Hitachi’s diagnostic imaging business for $1.63 billion.Amid the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, on of Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Drugs, favipiravir, an antiviral commercially named Avigan was considered for possible treatment of the virus after having been approved by China, Russia and Indonesia in June 2020.

Also in June 2020, it announced a $928 million investment to a Denmark-based biologics production facility, which acquired Biogen a year earlier for $890 million, to double the manufacturing capacity.

The offerings from the company that started as a manufacturer of photographic films, which it still produces, include: document solutions, medical imaging and diagnostics equipment, cosmetics, pharmaceutical drugs, regenerative medicine, stem cells, biologics manufacturing, magnetic tape data storage, optical films for flat-panel displays, optical devices, photocopiers and printers, digital cameras, color films, color paper, photofinishing and graphic arts equipment and materials.

Tags: #Japan, #Fujifilm, #totalhealthcarecompany, #imaging, #business


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