When the photographic film industry faced a crisis in the early 2000s, market leader Kodak began to struggle and was obliged to make an existential decision. In 2010, worldwide demand for photographic film had fallen to less than a tenth of what it had been only ten years before. Two years later, in 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection.


AI has been one of our strongest assets for decades. Fujifilm was a pioneer in healthcare AI, obtaining its first patent in 1991

Chihiro Sasaki, division manager healthcare, Fujifilm Middle East & Africa


On the other hand, Fujifilm, the iconic Japanese photography and imaging company, was able to adapt to the changing dynamics of the industry and not only survived but has transformed from a photographic film supplier into a diversified company with significant healthcare products and operations.


Today, with over USD four billion dollars in revenue from its healthcare business, the company is among the top medical device companies in the world. According to Chihiro Sasaki, Fujifilm’s healthcare division manager for the Middle East and Africa (MEA), the company’s successful feat in the healthcare industry was not in spite of its photographic roots, but because of them. “Fujifilm has leveraged its imaging and information technology to become a global player known for innovation in healthcare. We apply our strong imaging technology and experience into the medical device field and are well-positioned for the future,” he contends, adding, for example, that while artificial intelligence is the talk of the industry today, Fujifilm has been working on it for almost three decades. “AI has been one of our strongest assets for decades. Fujifilm was a pioneer in healthcare AI, obtaining its first patent in 1991.”


After overcoming the business model crisis at the beginning of the century, the company regards innovation as a precondition for future success. “[Fujifilm’s] average expenditure on R&D is around USD eight million per day. That is why our solutions are synonymous with innovation and quality,” highlights Sasaki.


With a medical product portfolio consisting of computed and digital radiography, digital mammography, endoscopy, in-vitro diagnostics, portable ultrasound systems and medical information technology, Fujifilm is well positioned to play a preeminent role in healthcare, particularly in the MEA region. According to Sasaki, the company has a diverse and comprehensive portfolio that puts them “on par with any other company in the industry. We have seen a great reception to our products in this region… all five divisions have been growing by double digits annually in the MEA region.”


While the healthcare business represents around 20 percent of Fujifilm’s annual revenue, it accounts for around 63 percent of the revenue in the Middle East. It is, perhaps, why the company has embarked into a bold branding campaign, sponsoring major events like Arab Health and Medlab Middle East in 2020. “Healthcare is a huge business for the company in MEA. We began introducing our healthcare solutions in 2012 and have been well received by the industry because they appreciate the quality and our commitment to the market. It has been a story of success,” says Sasaki.


Read the full interview with Fujifilm MEA’s Chihiro Sasaki here