COPENHAGEN, March 3 William Demant, the world's second-largest maker of hearing aids, pins its growth ambition on the fast-increasing market for hearing implants, the Danish firm's incoming chief executive told Reuters on Friday.
* "We are of course not in this to have a 2 percent market share... 10 percent is a good ambition for a start, but we have to gain more than that," Soren Nielsen, who takes the helm on April 1, said
* William Demant currently has a 2-3 percent share of the global $1 billion-$1.3 billion cochlear implant market
* The market grows by around 10 percent per year and has potential to reach around $2 billion annually, Nielsen said
* A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants provide sound signals to the brain
* "It is in this market we have the biggest growth potential in the medium term... And it is also the most profitable," Chief Financial Officer Rene Schneider said
* On overall research and development investments in the coming years, Schneider said: "We will see a rise in crowns spent, but it will probably amount to a relatively smaller part of revenues."
* William Demant's competitors include Australia's Cochlear , Austria's MED-EL and Swiss Sonova, the world's largest hearing aid maker
* The new CEO said hearing aids with instant translation could be a hope for the future: "It's not hard to imagine that we'll one day have instant translation and if you travel as hearing-impaired in Japan you can suddenly understand the language." (Reporting by Julie Astrid Thomsen and Stine Jacobsen, editing by Terje Solsvik)
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