As the leading company in the global eyeglass lens market* with a long business history spanning more than 50 years, Hoya has continued to develop high-quality, high-performance products and provided optimal vision solutions for people all over the world.
As the main driver of growth in the Life Care segment, this is a business that is supporting Hoya's growth.
In addition to the major countries in Europe, business expansion can be expected in Russia, North Africa and Eastern Europe. The North American market, which Hoya entered on a full scale in 2000, is a region where we still have a short track record in the long history of this business. However, we have steadily increased sales since developing polycarbonate materials in 2010, and we foresee continued strong growth here. In addition to our business development, various Asian countries with rapidly growing populations, we have made a full-scale entry into the South American region, where we made the eyeglass lens manufacturing and sales company a wholly-owned subsidiary in 2012. However, many uncultivated markets such as Mexico and Colombia remain, and we will actively develop business expansion measures to enhance our presence in these markets.
Besides developing lenses, Hoya also provides various kinds of innovative services by making effective use of IT at eyeglass stores. These encompass not only promoting an understanding of Hoya's technologies and products but also providing customer service, measurement and product ordering to ensure that customers are quickly supplied with optimal lenses.
For the sake of the optimal field of vision that suits each customer, we are focusing our efforts on innovating products and services on a daily basis.
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At present, Hoya is operating in 52 countries, with an American assuming the role of a top executive and the divisional headquarters in Thailand, which is equipped with leading-edge production facilities, taking command of global strategies. We will further accelerate our global expansion by leveraging our network, which enables speedy delivery to customers from efficiently located factories around the world that handle operations ranging from customized processing of premium lenses to mass production of general-purpose products.
Hoya's eyeglass lens business experienced a sharp drop in sales because of the large floods that occurred in Thailand in the fall of 2011, but sales recovered steadily during the subsequent year. In addition, we turned an affiliated company that has top market share as an eyeglass lens manufacturer and sales company in Brazil into a wholly-owned subsidiary in 2012. Then, in 2013, we acquired the Seiko brand eyeglass lens development and manufacturing business from Seiko Epson Corporation and decided to take an equity stake in Seiko Optical Products Co., Ltd., a company that sells Seiko eyeglass lenses. Thus, we are actively promoting business expansion through M&A as well as through organic growth.
Hoya's strengths are its product capabilities backed by advanced technologies, its efficient production network that extends globally, and its service innovation that leverages information technology. Moreover, we aim to achieve further growth as our passionate global personnel deliver these outstanding values supported by the trust of our customers.