Kodak looks to China, India for sales boost

BY Yeow Pooi Ling

EASTMAN Kodak Co expects the greater Asia region, excluding Japan, to contribute 25% of its total digital portfolio revenue for the year ending December 2005, buoyed by rising demand from markets such as China and India  

Regional business general manager digital and film imaging systems Francois Monnet told StarBiz: “Last year, this region contributed about 17% of the total digital portfolio revenue. Penetration level is still considered low. For example in Malaysia, less than 15% of the households own a digital camera.  

“By end of this year, this should grow to at least 25%. With demand increasing for camera phones, imagine the volume of picture-taking advancing. We’ll have an explosion in this market,” he added.  

Kodak had introduced two new printer dock versions, as well as 15 new camera models and digital software. In addition, its photo kiosks and concept stores have received positive response from consumers. The concept store is a convenient, one-stop centre for digital merchandise and photo processing,  

“We are not selling cameras; we are proposing digital solutions for our consumers. We provide a complete portfolio of services so that consumers can have their photos anywhere, any time,” Monnet said.  

Francois Monnet with the photo kiosk

Kodak currently has 35,000 outlets worldwide, of which 17,000 are in the greater Asia region. 

In Malaysia, 100 of the total 476 are concept stores while 60% boast a digital mini laboratory.  

The Kodak photo kiosk is considered a low investment entry as it costs only one-tenth of the total Kodak franchise venture, which is between RM380,000 and RM460,000. There are currently 66,000 photo kiosks worldwide, of which 170 are in Malaysia.  

Kodak’s printer dock, which costs RM699 each in Malaysia, was one of its best selling products last year. Kodak sold 1.5 million printer docks globally in 2004 and expects this to increase to 2.5 million this year.  

“A Kodak print is meaningful. We offer the connectivity from a mobile phone to a web page, which connects to a Kodak Express for printing. We also provide connectivity from a camera to a printer dock, or the mini lab, or the kiosk,” Monnet said. Contribution from the digital segment, currently between 40% and 42%, is likely to exceed 50% by the end of the financial year, he added. 

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