Semiconductor lithography equipment achieved significantly higher unit sales thanks to healthy demand for memory devices, particularly those used in data centers. This result also reflected the stellar reputation we have earned in the market for our customer support and the productivity of our equipment. We also continued to see high levels of sales for FPD lithography equipment, especially in the small- and medium-sized panel segments, leveraging our high-resolution technology.
However, our sales of OLED panel manufacturing equipment fell compared with the prior year due to sluggish capital investment within the sector.
In network cameras, Axis reported double-digit sales growth amid rising market demand.
As a result, overall sales for the business unit rose 1.6% year on year to ¥805.2 billion, while operating profit rose 60.9% year on year to ¥65.5 billion.
While we expect the overall semiconductor market to contract in 2019 due to a slowdown in capital investment by memory manufacturers, the outlook includes continued growth for image sensors and automotive devices. Since the customization requirements of customers for these semiconductors are many and varied, we plan to target market share gains based on upgrading our customer support to offer equipment that can handle various substrate sizes.
We expect a continued correction in investment in 2019 with FPD lithography equipment for production of small- and medium-sized display panels due to sluggish sales of smartphones. In the large-sized panel segment, however, we expect an increase in demand for high-resolution panels used in products such as TVs. In this area, we will target demand for high-resolution systems for seamless panel production, which can benefit from Canon's proprietary one-shot exposure lithography system.
In OLED panel manufacturing equipment, we will continue to develop the ultra-high-definition technology even further in 2019 with a view to future market expansion.
In network cameras, our strong lineup of products in the three key areas of camera hardware, video management software and analytic applications translates to an advantage in responding to diversifying market needs. The full-scale introduction of cloud services to enable centralized management of images at low cost will also help us sustain a high rate of growth.