Ger­man Cam­era Maker Le­ica To Ex­pand Pres­ence In In­dia

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS -

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

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