*NEWS*KONICA MINOLTA TARGETS SA MARKET

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*NEWS*KONICA MINOLTA TARGETS SA MARKET

 user 2006-06-09 at 11:16:00 am Views: 52
  • #15703

    Konica Minolta targets SA market
    PRINTER
    company Konica Minolta has appointed two new distributors to help it to
    increase its sales as demand for colour printers begins to take
    off.Workgroup and TVR Computers are now handling its colour laser
    printers in a bid to help the company expand its market share from just
    7%.“In SA our market share isn’t so good so we are accelerating our
    investment,” said Kanji Wada, MD for printing solutions in Europe.The
    move will bring it into direct competition with rivals Samsung, Lexmark
    and Epson, which jostle for position far behind the dominant player
    Hewlett-Packard.Konica Minolta did relatively well in 2004, when it won
    8% of the market, but it has fallen back this year. Hence it is making
    an extra effort to regain its place, said Tai Nizawa, its manager for
    Europe, the Middle East and Africa. That means appointing Workgroup and
    TVR Computers alongside its existing distributors Itec and Minolta.In
    2004 when the global brands Konica and Minolta merged, Itec and Minolco
    fought over who was to handle the new brand. Itec had imported Konica
    products and Minolco imported the Minolta range. After an acrimonious
    spat, both were retained and given equal access to the products.Now
    they have extra competition, although Nizawa said the new distributors
    targeted different customers. Itec and Minolta specialise in office
    products, while Workgroup and TVR Computers sell to IT-focused
    dealers.With four distributors now in place, Konica Minolta is planning
    to open an office in Johannesburg soon. “We need a sales activity here
    to go to the dealers with information and convince them about the
    advantages of taking a Konica Minolta product,” Nizawa said.The company
    runs branch offices in most of the countries it targets. In SA it is
    too dependent on its distributors.Its increased interest in SA is
    mainly due to the growth of colour printer sales. So far, fewer than
    10% of the sales are colour, compared to 20% in more developed
    markets.Until colour sales hit 5%, Konica Minolta judges a market too
    small to focus upon.Growth should come quickly, Nizawa said. SA’s gross
    domestic product is too high to justify printer sales only a tenth the
    volume of those in Germany.“The laser printer market is 25000 units and
    in Germany it’s 250000, but the growth rate is very high and picking up
    quickly.”Konica Minolta credits HP with laser printer sales of $11,3m
    in SA last year, in a total market of $23m. It also credits HP with
    almost 11000 of the 25000 colour printers sold, while Konica Minolta
    sold 1944 units.