Nikon mulls entry into medical devices business

Nikon, the Japanese camera and technology giant, is exploring a plunge into the medical device business.

Nikon's president, Makoto Kimura, told Bloomberg that the idea would be to dive into the sector and start generating revenue in about three years. Why medical devices? Adding the business line would help generate new revenue, a vital infusion in the context of slumping sales of compact cameras, which should contract by 12% in the current fiscal year alone, according to the story.

Kimura said in the interview that the company hasn't ruled out medical device-related acquisitions, though no specific talks are currently pending.

Nikon isn't the only Japanese technology behemoth looking toward the medical devices/medical equipment business for expansion.

Canon, also known for its cameras, recently launched a research and development operation in Massachusetts focused on developing cutting-edge medical device imaging tools. Earlier this year, Japanese conglomerate Sony ($SNE) agreed to invest $645 million in Olympus ($OCPNY) to form a joint partnership focused on endoscopes and other medical devices. Olympus already makes endoscopes. But both companies see their partnership as a way to generate new revenue sources in the wake of sluggish consumer product sales.

In Nikon's case, medical devices aren't the only way to generate new revenue. As the article notes, the company may also turn to smartphone development.

- read the Bloomberg story