German Camera Maker Leica To Expand Presence In India
GerMaN caMera maker Leica's products have been available in India for long, but it was only in November last year that the company set up a base in the country. It has a store at Connaught Place, New Delhi, for customers to walk in and experience their line-up; sells lower entry-level models through Amazon India; and has a shop-inshop in Mumbai and Bangalore. The company plans to introduce 3-5 Leica stores over the next three years in India.
Not many are aware of this luxury camera company but unlike other camera brands, Leica prefers brand experience over advertisements. Sunil Kaul, Managing Director, Leica Asia-Pacific, talking about the India operations, says, “We did not come to India to make money. The effort, amount and time we put in here, in any other market would get 20 times the result. A lot of work needs to be done. We are here to build a brand. We have done this before in China. Ten years ago, Leica was an unknown brand in China but today we have a sizable business generating a reasonable profit. We see that happening in India, in 3-5 years. Currently, we are not losing in double digits and are close to breaking even.”
Priced upwards of 85,000, Leica is offering its complete range in India. Irrespective of the regulations and taxes, the pricing is similar to what is available abroad. However, Leica cameras purchased abroad are not covered under warranty in India. “Each part has a serial number and if the camera cannot be repaired in India, it has to be sent to the country where it can be repaired. When it comes back, it gets stuck in customs as the serial number doesn’t match the records,” explains Kaul.
Unlike other camera brands, Leica does not have products to appeal the masses and has some unique offerings in its portfolio. For instance, one of Leica’s models doesn’t have LCD display. Similarly, it has a Monochrome camera, which is manufactured in small quantities and is fairly popular among users.
Of the complete range, many Leica cameras are handcrafted, and all Leica cameras that involve handwork are manufactured either in Germany or at a factory in Portugal, which accounts for close to 80 per cent of the total production. Leica has also collaborated with Panasonic, which is an original manufacturer for a few of its models that do not require hand work.
Leica cameras that involve handwork are manufactured in Germany or Portugal