5 Minutes With…Anurag Agarwal, MD, Canon Middle East

Canon is hiring in the Middle East as it expands its presence in the region, says Anurag Agarwal, the company’s regional managing director.



1. What is Canon focusing on this year?

Canon is present in multiple markets of varied sizes in the Middle East and North and East Africa region. Our focus is on growing our share in each market regardless of size or location.

On a global level, Canon’s strategies for the next five years will focus on diversification and globalisation, and expansion into new business areas. The company also has plans to build a three regional headquarter management system with global business centres in Japan, USA and Europe.

2. Are you concerned that the current volatile global economic climate will affect your strategy?

Economic instability has been the norm since the latest financial slowdown in 2009. There is a wide spectrum of generic macro-economic indicators such as GDP, GDP growth, inflation rate and per capita income that we constantly monitor to analyse the economic environment where we operate.

The consolidated net income attributable to Canon Incorporated increased by 11 per cent to ¥61.5 billion ($750 million) for the first quarter of 2012. In addition, operating profit, income before income taxes and net income attributable to Canon have realised year-on-year increases for three consecutive quarters.

Broadly speaking, the outlook for demand across our different business segments is positive.

The print industry for example in the Middle East is expected to grow five per cent just in 2012, according to the Printing and Publishing Group (PPG) – this is on the back of technological advancements and the high contribution of over $2.3 billion by the UAE print industry alone. In addition, according to Canon’s fourth Insight Report The Bigger Picture 2012, 70 per cent of buyers view print to be as effective as or more effective than any other media in the communications mix.

The global digital cameras market is also growing and is expected to reach 155 million units by 2017, according to a report by Global Industry Analysts. Some of this growth will be driven by the MENA markets.

Overall, we sense a demand for increasing convergence of technologies.

3. What are the growth areas currently for your industry?

Imaging innovation is at the heart of Canon’s business strategy. Over the next five years, Canon will enter Phase IV of our Excellent Global Corporation Plan with the key strategic mission to make Canon a top 100 global company. Our mission in the Middle East is to become a true value added sales and service company and to achieve number one position in all markets by achieving market share growth.

To achieve this, Canon Middle East will continue its “closer to customers” business strategy, work closely with our partners, and drive growth by better understanding the needs of the market and customers.

Canon holds the leading position in most of its categories in the Middle East. The most prominent areas of growth that we anticipate include Colour Multi-Functional Printers (MFPs), Digital Printing (Production) and Document Imaging Management Systems (DIMS).

In the consumer products market, demand for digital SLR cameras is anticipated to continue achieving robust growth worldwide.

Early this year, Canon entered the film and TV production industry by launching the Cinema EOS system, bringing together Canon’s core expertise from its video, broadcast, DSLR and lens groups.

Canon also recently entered the commercial photo printing market with the launch of the DreamLabo 500 commercial Inkjet printer.

Some of the other new business domains for Canon include medical imaging, intelligent robots, safety and security and promoting mixed reality.

4. What new products will your company launch this year?

Canon launches around 100 diverse products each year.

We have recently launched the network and WiFi range of product offerings for increased ease and convenience to the customers, the C300 launched to enhance the motion picture production industry, the ZoomPlus technology in digital still cameras, offering higher zoom features allowing users to extend the zoom of their cameras and get closer to the actions. Additionally, we introduced a range of enhanced features in color products.

5. What are the biggest challenges for UAE businesses in your sector in 2012?

Canon is now moving from box moving to value added solutions and consultative business. Hiring the right resources to support our strategy is a challenging process and we are continuously looking for the right talent and investing in training to be able to give our customers the best service they expect from Canon.

Counterfeiting is perhaps another impediment to growth in the electronics sector in the region and the industry needs to continue to work closely with authorities to overcome this challenge and increase awareness among consumers about the dangers of using counterfeit accessories.

6. Will you be hiring this year?

The Middle East, North and East Africa region is one of Canon’s growth engines worldwide, and our business objective is to grow our market share by growing faster than the market growth. In order to achieve this objective, we need to be equipped with the right resources. We are always on the look for bright individuals that can add value to our business.

7. What’s your leadership style?

I am a team player and always keen that as a team we all contribute to all layers of the organisation to generate strong results. I also capitalise on the team members’ skills, talents and thoughts by letting them share their views, rather than simply expecting them to conform.

I enjoy participating in debates and creative group sessions as well. Additionally, I like involving my people in the decision making process.

8. What makes the perfect employee?

A perfect employee is one who is passionate about his/her work; enjoys what he/she is doing and works as if he/she is working for their own business. As a company, we also handle the responsibility of motivating and creating the right environment for people to flourish and grow.

Additionally, the two Cs; conduct and credibility, which lead to good attitude, anticipation, and accountability, are also components that make a perfect employee.

9. Define success in five words

1. People
2. Partnership
3. Plan
4. Process
5. Persistent

10. Three tips for becoming the boss

You need to listen more, understand, digest and help solve problems and obstacles that may hinder the overall company’s objectives and goals. Contribute and participate in the company’s projects and not just delegate.

11. When I’m not at work I like to…

Read, and spend quality time with my family.