Fujifilm Holdings Corporation better known as Fujifilm or simply Fuji, is a Japanese multinational photography and imaging company headquartered in Tokyo.
Fujifilm’s principal activities are the development, production, sale and servicing of business document solutions, medical imaging and diagnostics equipment, cosmetics, optical films for flat panel displays, optical devices, photocopiers and printers, digital cameras, color film, color paper, photofinishing equipment, photofinishing chemicals, graphic arts equipment and materials.
Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. was established in 1934 with the aim of being the first Japanese producer of photographic films. Over the following 10 years, the company produced photographic films, motion-picture films and X-ray films. In the 1940s, Fuji Photo entered the optical glasses, lenses and equipment markets. After the Second World War, Fuji Photo diversified, penetrating the medical (X-ray diagnosis), printing, electronic imaging and magnetic materials fields. In 1962, Fuji Photo and U.K.-based Rank Xerox Limited (now Xerox Limited) launched Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd. through a joint venture.
From the mid-1950s, Fuji Photo accelerated the establishment of overseas sales bases. In the 1980s, Fuji Photo expanded its production and other bases overseas, stepping up the pace of its business globalization. Meanwhile, Fuji Photo developed digital technologies for its photo-related, medical and printing businesses.
Like its rival Eastman Kodak which dominated in the US, Fuji Photo enjoyed a longtime near-monopoly on camera film in Japan. By becoming one of the title sponsors of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics (an opportunity that Kodak passed on), offering cheaper camera film, and establishing a film factory in the US, Fuji gained considerable market share there, while Kodak had little success in penetrating Japan. In May 1995, Kodak filed a petition with the US Commerce Department under section 301 of the Commerce Act arguing that its poor performance in the Japanese market was a direct result of unfair practices adopted by Fuji. The complaint was lodged by the US with the World Trade Organization. On January 30, 1998, the WTO announced a “sweeping rejection of Kodak’s complaints” about the film market in Japan.
The new millennium witnessed the rapid spread of digital technology in cameras. Demand for photographic films plunged in line with the growing popularity of digital cameras. In response, Fuji Photo implemented management reforms aimed at effecting drastic transformation of its business structures. Even as early as the 1980s, the company had foreseen the switch from film to digital, so “it developed a three-pronged strategy: to squeeze as much money out of the film business as possible, to prepare for the switch to digital and to develop new business lines.” While both film manufacturers recognized this fundamental change, Fuji Photo adapted to this shift much more successfullythan Eastman Kodak (which filed for bankruptcy in January 2012). Fuji Photo’s diversification efforts also succeeded while Kodak’s had failed; furthermore Kodak built up a large but barely profitable digital camera business that was undone quickly by smartphone cameras.
In September 19, 2006, Fujifilm announced plans to establish a holding company, Fujifilm Holdings Corp. Fujifilm and Fuji Xerox would become subsidiaries of the holding company. A representative of the company reconfirmed its commitment to film, which accounts for 3 persent of sales.