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This year will mark Fujifilm’s 50th year in Europe. From its original business in photo film, the company has diversified to become a successful international corporation with a leading position in many business fields. On July 7, 1966, Fuji Photo Film Europe GmbH was entered in the commercial register in Düsseldorf. Expanding from there first to the UK in 1976 and then across the continent with production facilities and sales offices, today the company has a dense network of locations throughout Europe.
Fujifilm first made a name for itself as a film manufacturer. Its signature green film boxes could be found in stores everywhere, and the Fujifilm airship became a familiar sight at sports events. However, around 2000 the market for film began to shrink rapidly as digital photography took off. Fujifilm met this challenge with a remarkably successful transformation that enabled it to not just survive, but to grow, developing into a diversified corporation with activities in many industries.
Today, the traditional film business accounts for less than 1% of Fujifilm revenues. Globally, the company has three major business areas: Imaging Solutions including advanced optical devices as well as digital cameras, materials and systems for photo printing, Information Solutions, where Fujifilm has a strong presence in healthcare, graphic systems, flat panel display materials, recording media, industrial inspection and other technologies, and Document Solutions, where the company supplies printers and allied products, production and other services.
Throughout Europe, the Fujifilm group operates in seven business fields including healthcare, graphic systems, optical devices, recording media and photographic technologies. Fujifilm operates seven major manufacturing plants in the region, making CTP plates, color paper, chemicals, inks, colorants for ink-jet printers, toner, electronic materials for semiconductor production and biopharmaceuticals. The European headquarters are in Düsseldorf and the group has about 50 companies across Europe, employing almost 5,000 people.
Fujifilm invests around 7% of its annual consolidated turnover in research and development, focusing resources on business areas with significant growth potential. The key R&D unit driving the technological capabilities of the company is the Fujifilm Advanced Research Laboratories opened in 2006 near Tokyo. This complex brings together scientists and engineers in global innovation teams working on organic synthesis, thin multilayer coatings, precision micromachining, lens design, laser, print and image processing.
The Tilburg Research Laboratories in the Netherlands are the European R&D center. Working with academic institutions across Europe, the center develops leading-edge technologies centering on membranes for gas separation, ion exchange membranes and recombinant peptides. The new Open Innovation Hub in Tilburg stimulates co-creation based on Fujifilm technologies.
Fujifilm has many successes to its credit and continues to develop more. Examples include the acclaimed X-series cameras, which have won many prestigious awards. Fujifilm instax cameras provide instant photos at the click of a button and have created a worldwide trend. Many people experience the joy of printing photos taken via smartphone; Fujifilm software facilitates this process. The company also provides advanced technologies for the printing industry. As a leader in industrial ink-jet printing, it will be a major exhibitor of graphic systems at the upcoming drupa trade fair. Fujifilm is a pioneer in diagnostic imaging for medical institutions, and for decades has been a reliable partner for hospitals and doctors, while expanding the portfolio thoroughly into the healthcare sector.
FUJIFILM Europe President Takaaki Kurose says: “The transition from a film manufacturer to a global high-tech company was possible because we have a solid growth strategy and invest heavily in R&D based on a wealth of advanced technologies compiled over years. We provide the best technology available in business fields where we can excel. Our dedication to innovation is central to that. Europe is an important focus for us, as reflected by our Tilburg Research Laboratories in the Netherlands and the recently established Open Innovation Hub.”