TOKYO: Canon, the world's largest digital camera maker, says it expects China to account for around 20% of its sales over the next two years as the global slowdown has not impacted the Chinese market as much as it anticipated.

Canon already accounts for 30% of the market in China, ahead of Sony, Samsung and Nikon according to researchers CCID Consulting.

“Although it too has been affected by the financial crisis, China's market is still on a growth path,” says Masaya Maeda, CEO of Canon's Image Communications Products Operations. “I think, by 2012, the country will be very close to taking up 20% of our global digital revenue.”

During the past few years the company has recorded nearly 30% growth in China, making it Canon's third-largest market after the US and Japan.

Last year Canon released more than 20 new digital cameras in China and plans the launch of further models this year. It has also spent heavily on marketing including giant posters on the Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou metro systems.

Even so, the Chinese market still has considerable headroom to grow, with shipments of digital cameras in China totaling 35m last year, way behind televisions and mobile phones. Tatsuo Yososhioka, vice-president of Canon China, says he expects digital camera shipments to total between 100m and 200m in the next few years.

Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by WARC staff