Canon has reported a 14 per cent rise in profits in 2002, and predicts a further increase in 2003 - which would be the fourth record-breaking year in a row. Net profit rose to $1.6 billion during the year.

Canon has become one of the most profitable non-automobile company's in Japan. Success is driven in part by the growing demand for digital cameras.

Apple has helped Canon's camera sales in recent advertising campaigns, which feature an iMac, a Canon digital camera and the slogan: "They just click". Canon's expects digital camera sales to climb a further 72 per cent this year - and it's after 25 per cent of the global market in the category in 2003.

The company expects colour laser printer sales to rise over five per cent. Together with HP, Canon accounts for 60 per cent of the world's laser printer market. However, Dell and Samsung are planning to enter the market in the coming months.