By Yoon Sung-won
Samsung Electronics has denied market speculation that it will withdraw from the digital imaging business and sell its imaging sensor technologies to Japanese camera maker Nikon.
Such speculation has been circulating in the camera industry for a while.
Market expectations have also been that selling the imaging sensors would be much more profitable for the company than selling cameras.
Samsung Electronics, however, claimed that it does not have an official plan to dispose of its digital imaging business division.
"It is true that we have not rolled out any new products since February," said a Samsung Electronics spokesman, ‘but we do not have any official plans to withdraw from the camera business. We still have employees working in the division."
A source from the camera industry also revealed a negative view on the speculation.
"I doubt that Nikon is interested in acquiring Samsung's camera technologies because the Japanese company already has advanced optical technologies," she said. "Should Nikon seek Samsung's camera business, it could be for diversification of its product portfolio."
Regardless, the speculation has continued to gain credence in the market as Nikon has struggled to compete with Sony in the mirrorless camera market.
Thanks to its advanced imaging sensor technologies, Sony has dominated the global mirrorless camera market in recent years, outperforming Canon and Nikon which have been far less successful in this sector compared to what they have done for the DSLR camera.
Sony has further expanded its presence in the digital imaging sensor business as it acquired the financially troubled Toshiba's image sensor business division.
Speculation started as Samsung stopped rolling out new digital camera products in February. Also, it has since stopped advertising its digital cameras and discontinued sales and marketing in Germany and the U.K.
Samsung's digital camera business has continued to be downsized since 2009 when Samsung Digital Image became a separate company detaching from Samsung Techwin.
The company was later merged by Samsung Electronics and became the electronics giant's digital imaging business division.
Last year, Samsung scaled the division down into a business team under its mobile business division.
During the last five years, Samsung Electronics has tried launching diverse camera products from DSLR cameras to mirrorless and compact models but has failed to compete with the Japanese brands. According to a Samsung Electronics report in 2013, the value of its digital imaging business fell to zero from about 82.6 billion won the year before.