TBY talks to Anurag Agrawal, Managing Director of Canon Middle East, on regional operations, Dubai Internet City, and trends in the consumer electronics market.

Anurag Agrawal
Anurag Agrawal was appointed Managing Director of Canon Middle East in 2009. With over 15-years experience in the regional market, he has been with Canon Middle East for 10 years handling various assignments. He joined Canon in 2000 and has been responsible for various sales, marketing, and service-oriented initiatives through his different assignments in Canon.

Where does Canon Middle East sit within the global Canon network, and how important is Dubai strategically in terms of your regional operations?

Canon Middle East contributes close to one-third of Canon Europe's emerging markets' business volume and manages sales, marketing, and technical support activities across 45 countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE, as well as East and North Africa. Canon has been doing business in the Middle East for more than 40 years, enabling us to establish a very powerful brand with strong local roots. Within the context of our regional operations, Dubai serves a very important role. We set up a representative office in Dubai in 1998 to help channel partners with additional on-the-ground support and from there Canon went on to establish a full subsidiary with extensive logistics facilities in 2001. Subsequently, we chose Dubai as our Middle Eastern headquarters as it enjoys close proximity to the regional markets we operate in. Additionally, Canon Emirates was also established in 2007 to consolidate and reinforce Canon's position in the region through an integrated structure. The company is responsible for Canon Business Solutions in the UAE and all related activities, including direct sales, marketing, and services, which will bring Canon's global strength to the UAE. Canon Emirates' presence is an important step towards the realization of Canon's potential in the UAE.

Why did you choose Dubai Internet City as a base for your operations and what are the main benefits of operating within this location?

Canon Middle East moved into its head office at Dubai Internet City (DIC) in 2002. As the region's largest dedicated ICT cluster in the MENA region, DIC was a natural fit for us. DIC has big ICT and multinational companies that provide state-of-the-art technology and solutions and it was fitting for us to join like-minded companies. The move allowed us to consolidate our market stronghold and bolster our reputation further. Over the years, we have developed a great relationship with the DIC team, and share with them our vision for innovation and sustainable growth. Canon has partnered with DIC on several environmental projects, including our combined celebrations for Earth Day.

What indicators are you watching to observe how the global economy will develop?

There is a wide spectrum of generic macro-economic indicators that we constantly monitor to analyze the economic environment where we operate. This includes gross domestic product (GDP), growth of GDP, rate of inflation, and per capita income. Broadly speaking, the outlook for demand across our different business segments is positive. If we were to look at the print industry as one example, globally the print industry is estimated to be worth $640 billion and drives $3.8 trillion in related services. Here, in the Middle East, the region's printing industry is expected to grow 5% 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% of buyers view print to be as effective as or more effective than any other media in the communications mix. To take another example, the global digital cameras market 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. Another trend that we observe is a demand for increasing convergence of technologies. For instance, we used to have separate machines for faxing and calling, and now there's the tele-fax. Just a few decades ago, a photocopier was just meant to photocopy. Today's photocopiers are multifunctional workhorses that can copy, print, and scan. There is rarely a medium- to large-sized enterprise that does not have a multifunction device (MFD), reflecting the competitiveness and flexibility within modern business environments. Moreover, consumers and corporates are demanding more added value such as document security and internet connectivity that are driving a new breed of all-purpose office equipment.