A photography company. Although quite a few people still have this image of Fujifilm, today it’s so much more. By leveraging the technologies it originally developed for the photography industry and continuously and proactively pursuing advanced R&D, Fujifilm has created businesses in multiple high-tech fields and become a technology-oriented company. This article tells how Fujifilm made this crucial change in the nature and scope of its operations.
Fujifilm was the company that brought photographic film production to Japan and originally grew based on this business. Designing photographic film incorporating photosensitive materials based on silver halide is complicated and requires extreme precision. By researching and developing for many decades everything related to photographic film, from raw materials to processes to systems, Fujifilm became an expert in many different advanced materials technologies, including coatings, membranes, and organic compounds.
In addition, as a result of designing and manufacturing a wide range of products for the photography industry, including cameras and photofinishing equipment, Fujifilm established a strong foundation in optical and mechanical design, production systems, and many other fundamental technologies. What began as a focus in the photography industry has today become a portfolio of world-class technologies encompassing many fields.
Starting in the 1980s, the use of digital technologies spread across a wide range of industries. From the beginning, Fujifilm was a digital pioneer, rapidly generating major digital advances in the fields of medicine, photography, printing, and more.
In the field of medicine, Fujifilm developed Fuji Computed Radiography (FCR), the world’s first digital X-ray diagnostic system. In the field of photography, Fujifilm developed the DS-1P, the world’s first digital camera, as well as the world’s first digital minilab. In the field of printing, Fujifilm developed highly innovative computer-to-plate (CTP) systems.
To create all of these fundamental technologies, Fujifilm had to develop strong fundamental technologies in electrical engineering, electronics, image analysis, imaging, and software. The core technologies that arose from these efforts remain one of Fujifilm’s key strengths today.
Fujifilm defines a core technology as one that serves as the foundation of added value to the customer or differentiation from the competition. In order to make possible revolutionary products or even new business divisions, these technologies must be best-in-class in their respective fields.
At the same time, playing a key role in only a single product is not enough for a technology to be considered core. Rather, it must give an outstanding competitive advantage to multiple Fujifilm products over the long term. Moreover, the core status of a technology is further solidified when it is combined with other Fujifilm technologies and add even more value.
Fujifilm conceives of its core technologies as the seeds of new businesses. It’s in the company’s DNA to apply the full spectrum of functions its new technologies offer to as many fields as possible, thereby meeting global needs with innovative new products. As just two examples, Fujifilm’s core technologies gave birth to functional cosmetics and film for use in LCD panels. In the latter market, Fujifilm has a global market share of approximately 70 percent.
Going forward, Fujifilm will continue to proactively engage in the research and development of advanced new technologies. As a technology-oriented company, Fujifilm will never stop taking on the challenge of leveraging its core technologies to develop outstanding new products, create new businesses, and grow the Group as a whole. This is the key thinking behind “Value from Innovation.”