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      A History of Value Creation at Canon

      Since its founding in 1937, Canon has grown by moving with the times, refining its enterprising spirit and proprietary technology, while also seeking to create new value to satisfy the expectations of customers and society.
      Outlined below is a history of innovation at Canon, from its venture start-up origins to today.

      1930s–40s Aiming to develop the world's best cameras

      Major events with global social and economic impact

      1929 Great Depression
      1939–1945 World War II
      1947 Start of the Cold War

      Business development landmarks

      1933 Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory established to pursue development of high-quality, domestically produced cameras
      1937 Precision Optical Industry, Co., Ltd. established

      Development of products with social value


      Introduction of Hansa Canon, Japan's first domestic 35-mm focal-plane-shutter camera.
      Model makes significant impact on the Japanese camera industry and contributed to post-war camera development

      Hansa Canon


      Development of first indirect X-ray camera made in Japan for early detection of TB (leading cause of death at that time)

      indirect X-ray camera

      1950s–60s Promoting globalization and diversification

      Major events with global social and economic impact

      1955–1973 Economic boom in Japan
      1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
      1965 Start of the Vietnam War
      1967 Creation of European Communities (EC)

      Business development landmarks


      Branch office opened in New York

      Branch office opened in New York

      1957 Canon Europa set up in Switzerland as sole European distributor
      1965 Canon U.S.A., Inc. established
      1967 “Cameras in the Right Hand, Business Machines in the Left” used as 30th anniversary slogan to promote diversification
      1968 Canon Amsterdam N.V. (now Canon Europa N.V.) established

      Development of products with social value


      Launch of Canonet, a low-priced model with internal automatic exposure mechanism, achieves record sales. Sparks the “electric-eye” camera boom enabling anyone to enjoy photography



      Launch of Canola 130, the world's first 10-key electronic calculator, marks Canon's entry into business machines. The 10-key format goes on to become the de facto standard

      Canola 130

      1968 Canon enters the plain-paper copier (PPC) market with the introduction of the Canon NP System, a proprietary electro-photography technology that achieves high sensitivity and long service life. In 1970, Canon launches the NP-1100, Japan's first domestically produced PPC

      1970s–80s Promoting diversification, second inauguration of company

      Major events with global social and economic impact

      1973 Oil Crisis
      1979 Second Oil Crisis
      1985 Plaza Accord, prompting a sharp yen appreciation
      1986–1991 Japanese asset price bubble
      1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident
      1987 World stock market crash (Black Monday)

      Business development landmarks

      1970 Canon Inc., Taiwan established as first overseas manufacturing facility
      1972 Physotec GmbH (now Canon Giessen GmbH) set up in Germany as first manufacturing site in Europe
      1988 In 51st year of operations, second inauguration of company announced, corporate philosophy of Kyosei established

      Development of products with social value


      Launch of the AE-1, the world's first SLR camera featuring a built-in microcomputer. Offering full automation for flawless photographs and a low price anticipating the post-oil crisis slump, the AE-1 is a global hit


      1978 Launch of PLA-500FA, the world's first mask aligner with a laser-based automatic alignment system, five-inch wafer capability in advance of the trend towards larger wafers, and automatic substrate feed-in mechanism contribute to gains in semiconductor manufacturing productivity

      Introduction of the PC-10/PC-20, the world's first personal copying machines featuring replaceable cartridges. Introduction of cartridge system realizes easy maintenance and miniaturization that enables copiers to be used at home, contributing to expansion of copier market



      LBP-8 launched as the world's smallest, lightest laser printer. Contributes to the realization of desktop publishing



      Launch of BJ-80, world's first inkjet printer using high quality, fast, and quiet, Bubble Jet technology


      1987 Introduction of EOS autofocus SLR cameras with interchangeable EF lenses using a fully electronic mount. Contribute significantly to the spread of SLR cameras Introduction of CLC-1, the world's first full-color digital copying machine, marking the start of the high-resolution, full-color copy era

      1990s Pursuing business reforms and globalization

      Major events with global social and economic impact

      1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall
      Tiananmen Square incident
      1991 Gulf War
      1992 UNCED, or Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
      1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake
      Launch of Windows 95
      Creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
      1997 Asian financial crisis
      Adoption of the Kyoto Protocol
      1999 EU currency unification (introduction of the euro)

      Business development landmarks

      1990 Toner cartridge recycling launched in US as first part of global roll-out
      1993 Canon Group Environmental Charter formulated with clear stance on the environment based on Kyosei philosophy
      1996 Excellent Global Corporation Plan (medium-term business plan) initiated, reformed awareness of new management vision emphasizing “total optimization” and “profitability” and commitment to cash flow management
      1997 Canon (China) Co., Ltd. established
      1998 Copying machine remanufacturing operations started in Japan, three-region (Japan/US/Europe) system for remanufacturing established

      Development of products with social value

      1993 Launch of the EOS REBEL XS (EOS 500 in other regions) SLR camera as the world's smallest, lightest camera with internal strobe. Model becomes a major hit, expanding SLR user base

      Launch of ELPH (IXUS in other regions), the world's smallest zoom compact camera with Advanced Photo System (APS). Such features as an innovative, high-grade design lead to it becoming an instant global hit


      2000s Stepping up digitization of products

      Major events with global social and economic impact

      2001 9/11 attacks
      2007 Launch of iPhone
      2008 Bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers

      Business development landmarks


      Canon Inc. began listing ADRs on the New York Stock Exchange

      Canon Inc. began listing ADRs on the New York Stock Exchange

      2004 Igari Mold (now Canon Mold) made wholly owned subsidiary, enhanced technical capability in mold making and in-house manufacturing promoted
      2005 ANELVA Corp. (now Canon ANELVA) made consolidated subsidiary. Contributed significantly to inhouse production of production machinery based on vacuum thin-film deposition technology
      NEC Machinery Corp. (now Canon Machinery) made consolidated subsidiary. Contributed to realization of automated manufacturing at Canon through design and production of automation equipment
      2007 Tokki (now Canon Tokki) made consolidated subsidiary. Contributed to spread of devices using OLED displays through advanced technologies for OLED panel manufacturing equipment

      Development of products with social value

      2000 Launch of PowerShot S100 DIGITAL ELPH (DIGITAL IXUS in other regions) in response to adoption of digital technology in the development of IT. Digital compact camera market grows exponentially
      Launch of iR series of next-generation network MFDs with document collation/distribution functions in response to trend toward office digitization and networking

      Launch of imagePRESS C7000VP, anticipating growing demand for high-mix, low-volume printing. Full-scale entry into commercial digital printer market

      imagePRESS C7000VP

      2010s Facing new growth challenges

      Major events with global social and economic impact

      2011 Great East Japan Earthquake
      2015 Adoption of SDGs by UN
      Adoption of the Paris Agreement
      2016 The U.K. votes to withdraw from the European Union

      Business development landmarks

      2010 Commercial printing business expanded with addition of Océ (Netherlands) as consolidated subsidiary
      2014 Nanoimprint lithography manufacturing equipment development accelerated as Molecular Imprints, Inc. (US; now Canon Nanotechnologies) made wholly owned subsidiary
      Presence in video management software sector strengthened with addition of Milestone Systems (Denmark) as wholly owned subsidiary of Canon Europe
      2015 Presence in network cameras for surveillance strengthened as Axis Communications (Sweden) made consolidated subsidiary
      2016 Phase V of Excellent Global Corporation Plan initiated
      Strategy based on basic policy of “embracing the challenge of new growth via a grand strategic transformation” promoted
      Toshiba Medical Systems (now Canon Medical Systems) made wholly owned subsidiary to strengthen medical business
      2018 Stronger presence in video analytics software sector realized as BriefCam (Israel) made wholly owned subsidiary

      Development of products with social value


      Entry into motion picture production industry with announcement of Cinema EOS System of cinema cameras and lenses. Gains strong reputation among professional filmmakers


      2016 Launch of third-generation A3 color MFD imageRUNNER ADVANCE C5500 series. Contributes to increased efficiency in office operations

      Launch of Océ ProStream 1000 continuous feed inkjet press targets rising demand for digital printing in graphic arts market
      Launch of Aquilion Precision high-precision CT system. Offers new clinical value through high-resolution imaging

      Océ ProStream1000


      Launch of EOS R System, a new digital imaging system, delivering greater image quality and ease-of-use, and release of the EOS R mirrorless camera and RF lenses

      EOS R System