Facts about Fujifilm that might surprise you

Facts about Fujifilm that might surprise you

Posted by Samantha Chio on 2022-10-4

Although the photography community mainly know Fujifilm as a leader in camera films, the company’s success is way beyond than just producing cameras. From stepping into the medical field to battling its rival Kodak, here are facts that you might not have known about Fujifilm:

Fujifilm is the inventor of Digital Radiography in the medical field

Fujifilm, or formerly know as Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd, was found in 1934 as a subsidiary of Daicel, a chemical company that focuses on celluloid technologies and other high performance chemical businesses. Although Fujifilm has always been known for producing photo films, the company actually produces X ray films as well since its businesses has diversified after World War II to enter the medical printing field. In 1983, Fuji Photo invented computed radiography (CR) as a result of expanding its digital technologies in medical imaging. This solved issues with traditional radiography including reduced radiation exposure for both the technician and patient in the process.

Kodak once sued Fujifilm for its success in the Japanese Market

Although the company has always had the lead in camera films in Japan, Fujifilm did not expand to oversea sales until 1956. Thanks to the company’s quick response to adapt all printing elements to international standards, it didn’t take long for Fujifilm to enter the international market and face the ultimate competitor Eastman Kodak in the US market. In 1984, Fuji gained huge market exposure after being the title sponsor of the Los Angeles Olympics, an opportunity that Kodak turnt down initially. Fuji used the opportunity to gain popularity afterwards by offering cheaper camera films and establishing a US factory to solidify its US market share. In May 1995, Kodak filed a section 301 petition against Fujifilm with the US Commerce Department for unfair practices that led to its poor performance in the Japan market. Although the complaint was lodged by the US and world trade organization, the case did not end until January 30, 1998 when WTO announced a "sweeping rejection of Kodak's complaints" about Fujifilm and the film market in Japan.

Fujifilm’s business also includes cosmetics and pharmaceutics

Fujifilm started out as a manufacturer of photographic films but has expanded its business way beyond that over the years. With its experience on working with collagen for photo films and the oxidation process, Fujifilm used their collagen knowledge to explore anti aging skin science and started Astalift in 2007. The company also invested in the pharmaceutical industry by establishing a business alliance with Toyama Chemical and Taisho Pharmaceutical in 2008. In fact Toyama Chemical developed a COVID 19 antiviral named Avigan that was approved by China, Russia, and Indonesia authorities to use for treatment in 2020.

The company took years to restructure and regain its frame back to what it is today

As the rise of digital cameras spread in the late 90s, Fujifilm foreseen the change from film to digital around the 1980s and launched their first digital camera FUJIX-DS1P in 1988. The launch was not a huge success and sales continued to decline as the technology for digital camera advanced. In 2001, Shigetaka Komori stepped in as the new CEO of Fujifilm and started finding ways to get Fujifilm out of its crisis state in the digital era. He named this plan Vision 75 and plan to restore Fujifilm’s profitability in 6 years by cutting costs and diversifying its business. Besides expanding itself to the cosmetics and pharmaceutics industry, Fujifilm also had to shut down most film manufacturing plants and 5000+ jobs in order to cut cost for the company. This extra breathing room was used to invest in new technologies, including the launch of Fuji Instax in 2012. The company continues to develop its technology in all business aspects, including the GFX system and X system in digital cameras and many others. The brand is loved by photographers globally and people still cherish its photo film till this day.