Clarification on the latest online articles about Nikon

It seems that there is still confusion online about the news that Nikon is cutting 10% of their workforce. The original report came in early November and has been repeated and republished since on multiple websites, including Bloomberg, Nikkei, and several others – it’s basically the same story that is being circulated online for almost a month now.

Four days ago there was another Nikkei article (already reported here) discussing some of the problems Nikon is facing – here is the recap:

  • 70 to 90% of Nikon’s semiconductor equipment goes for Intel. To be less dependent on Intel, Nikon is trying to sell at a lower price to the Chinese, which ends up not working out.
  • Nikon lacks the latest technology in semiconductor steppers. Intel bought the latest steppers from ASML, an industry leader. But Intel hasn’t succeeded in building new manufacturing lines.
  • So Intel is going to outsource semiconductor products like NVIDIA. If Intel reduces production in their own factories, Nikon will lose semiconductor equipment sales. That’s one of the reasons why Nikon’s share has fallen this year while the overall Japanese stock market has improved.
  • Nikon is behind Canon in some semiconductor manufacturing equipment and mirrorless. Canon expanded its business portfolio to commercial printing, medical products, and surveillance cameras.
  • China is trying to make semiconductor products by themselves due to US export regulations, which some say could lead to Nikon’s gain. Nikon plans to expand after-service and other semiconductor-related businesses.
  • Nikon aims to turn a profit in the camera business in fiscal 2021 by cost-cutting and focusing on pros and enthusiasts, but if things don’t work out in their other businesses like semiconductor equipment, Nikon will have trouble ahead (thanks for the translation Nakayamahanzaemon)

See also this related Nikkei article.

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