With digital cameras enjoying snappy sales in Hong Kong - one in four people now owns one - consumer electronic producers have had a surprisingly difficult time selling home photo printers. The reasons are a bit blurry, but industry observers say it may simply be a question of habit. For decades, people have taken their film rolls to local photo shops for developing. They are just as comfortable bringing in digital media, and have had no real exposure to the idea of printing digital photos at home. Japanese heavyweight Canon, one of the world's major digital camera makers, wants to change these habits. It has designated Hong Kong its primary test market for its photo printers, much to the chagrin of picture labs. 'We need to change the mindset of consumers,' said Kensaku Konishi, the president and chief executive of Canon Hong Kong. 'We have to tell them what total digital imaging experience is.' That experience involves little more than connecting a digital camera to a photo printer and pressing a button. 'Users can print a photo in colours just as rich as those produced by a traditional film camera,' he said. 'And it is 50 per cent cheaper than the charges in photo shops.' Canon's camera division accounted for 70 per cent of its US$150 million turnover in Hong Kong last year. Its digital camera commands a market share of 27 per cent. By focusing on photo printers, the company hopes to boost turnover to $200 million this year. Digital camera sales are largely one-off deals, says Mr Konishi. 'But buyers of photo printers will come back for consumables like ink and photo paper, as well as creating demand maintenance services,' he said. 'Hong Kong customers are also keen in chasing after new technologies.' While Hewlett-Packard and Epson are strong competitors in the home printer market, Mr Konishi says his company has a competitive edge, as neither rival produces digital cameras. At present, home photo printers are not widely used, in part because users must fiddle with output parameters to achieve a good image. Most digital camera owners store images on hard drives and CDs, and share them by sending them as e-mail attachments or posting them on personal web pages. Canon posted global income growth of 44 per cent to US$2.5 billion last year. The introduction of several new digital cameras and video camcorders delivered healthy sales, more than offsetting the decline in unit sales of conventional film cameras.