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No. 354, March 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


Deciding that in-store minilabs are the future of photo processing, KONICA CORP.'s East Hartford, Connecticut photofinishing subsidiary has an agreement in principle with QUALEX INC. to sell three of its six wholesale photofinishing plants. The three facilities that the EASTMAN KODAK CO. subsidiary and the dominant force in the wholesale photofinishing business are expected to buy are located in Fountain Valley, California, Munster, Indiana and Salt Lake City, Utah. The price was not disclosed. KONICA PHOTO SERVICES U.S.A., INC. will continue to operate wholesale photofinishing plants in Scarborough, Maine, Mt. Laurel, New Jersey and Hudson, Ohio. However, as part of this restructuring, at the end of March, KPS's operations will be folded into those of KONICA U.S.A., INC., the Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey marketer of Konica photographic equipment, film and paper.

As part of the strategy to increase its presence in the on-site minilab market, KONICA CORP.'s Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey subsidiary unveiled the completely digital QD-21 Minilab. The company is pitching the system to retail outlets as a compact, all-in-one processing lab that both is fast, easy to use and cost-efficient and gives consumers a variety of photo processing options. Konica claims that the QD-21 Minilab delivers these features at a price less than half that of competing completely digital minilabs and, to boot, uses conventional photographic paper and provides processing service in less than 15 minutes.

This system will be going up against NORITSU KOKI CO., LTD.'s simultaneously introduced QSS-2711 DLS - Digital Lab System. Jointly developed by the minilab pioneer and EASTMAN KODAK CO., the small- footprint, modular, fully digital minilab is defined by Kodak's digital imaging technology. The Kodak DLS software not only reads and automatically corrects images from virtually any source, but it also provides new ways to output, distribute, display, store and access photographic images. The QSS-2711 DLS minilab also incorporates a new print engine developed by Noritsu that generates digital prints on silver halide paper. Kodak will backstop Noritsu's worldwide marketing and sales of the QSS-2711 DLS minilab. The Japanese firm's Buena Park, California subsidiary will start U.S. sales this summer.

An exchange rate of ¥117=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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