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Oct 10, 2007 18:12 EEST
October 10 (SeeNews) - Japanese camera and medical equipment maker Olympus Corporation expects to grab up to 20% of the photo camera markets in Bulgaria and Romania by the end of the decade after establishing representative offices in the two EU newcomers recently, a senior company official said on Wednesday.
“In eastern Europe we are talking about 16-20%, that’s the range of the market share that we target and that would be sufficient to be one of the top three brands on the market,” Olympus regional manager for Central and Eastern Europe Lukas Drozd told SeeNews in an interview.
Drozd said Olympus, which now has a 12% share on the digital camera market in Bulgaria, expects to reach its target in the country within a year, helped by the opening of a representative office in Sofia in September.
“It was the primary reason for opening a representative office, to strengthen our market position. We want to be successful on the Bulgarian market at the same level at which we are successful at other eastern European markets,” Drozd said.
“In Croatia we are number one. In Slovenia we are in top three (…) and the same for Serbia,” Drozd said, adding the company has been present in these markets through fully-owned subsidiaries.
Olympus opened a representative office in Romania earlier this month, Drozd said. So far, the company has been operating in Romania and Bulgaria through distributors. It sees Sony and Canon as its main competitors in the two markets. The two Black Sea neighbours joined the EU in January.
“In Romania it’s more difficult because the market competition at the moment is very tough, so I would expect that we would be among the top three brands in Romania in the near future but it might take longer than one year, (…) two to three years,” he added.
Drozd said the company currently had a market share of about 10% in Romania.
“In already developed markets like Germany and France, the market for digital cameras is growing but not in the range of 20%, [it grows] by two, three to five percent, while every company needs to grow and growth we can find in the eastern European countries (…) That’s why we are focusing on these growing markets,” Drozd said, adding the fast economic growth and the rising purchasing power of the population contributed to the growth.
Another factor, which is helping sales rise faster in Bulgaria and Romania, is the scrapping of customs duties after the accession of the two countries to the European Union in January, which led to a decline in the prices of cameras, he added.
Elsewhere in southeastern Europe Olympus has subsidiaries in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia.
Olympus Corporation (www.olympus-global.com), which has a call centre in Prague and two repair centres located in the Czech Republic and Portugal, does not plan to open such facilities in southeastern Europe, as it believes its current capacity is large enough to serve its European clients, Drozd said.
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