Coming off of an announced uptick in high-end digital camera shipments and a projected further increase in the year to come, Japanese camera giant Nikon announced that it was officially closing its Jiangsu Chinese camera plant, ending months of speculation that the plant was on the chopping block.
In an announcement from Nikon corporate called “Nikon to Discontinue Operations of a Consolidated Chinese Manufacturing Subsidiary of Imaging Business,” the company cited the rise in smartphones as the primary reason for the plant’s closure.
The plant was established in 2002 in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province to manufacture digital camera and lenses for digital cameras. The collapse in demand for some digital cameras, coupled with the rise in demand for smartphone cameras and lenses, led to conditions “creating a difficult business environment” for Nikon’s Wuxi factory.
The Jiangsu manufacturing plant employed approximately 2,500 workers and produced primarily “entry-level compact digital cameras and interchangeable lenses for single-lens reflex cameras” per Nikon Rumors.
Nikon will continue to sell cameras in the People's Republic of China, of course, where it controls roughly 30% of the consumer camera market, and some of the plant’s production could potentially face outsourcing to other parts of the country.
The announcement from Nikon continued to detail the company’s plans to focus on more high-value add products. Nikon recently reported a boom in sales for its high-end digital cameras and plans to bolster that business in the future with its reorganization of the Imaging Products Business.
Nikon recently reported earning that topped analyst expectations, mainly on the foundations of a rise in demand for their more expensive digital camera products, with shipments rising over 23% over 2016 according to Nikon.
The sale of high-end digital cameras was a bright spot among other, more worrying signs at Nikon’s other divisions. The company projects 7% decrease in sales for 2017 but increased operating profit.
Nikon’s other factories in China remain unaffected the announcement impacting the Jiangsu facility.