Leica canceled Schmidt Marketing after 60 years

This is a post by a reader on Leica canceling Schmidt Marketing in Asia after 60 years:

So here's a piece of dated but important news that's worth sharing. Back in late November 2016, Leica announced that it's not renewing the contract with Schmidt Marketing, which has been distributing and servicing Leica products in the greater China (and Asia) region for some 60 years.

However, such news was not properly reported back then, with just a few local and online outlets giving it a mention.  As such, many of us knew of this news only since this January, when the distributor's rights officially ended.  Not even Schmidt Marketing has properly published any press releases regarding this matter.

That said, Schmidt will still be conducting product servicing and repairs until around the end of April.

The online reports that I could pull off are as follows (Chinese only):

Some, however, reported that CEO Andreas Kaufmann has long hinted on such a move, saying there's huge expansion potential in China. Leica has set up a new subsidiary in Shanghai last June, as well as setting up the first Leica Store in mainland China. It also collaborated with Taobao (Tmall) to set up its own online store for the mainland.

After April, the Leica subsidiary in Shanghai will assume full responsibility for sales and servicing of all Leica products deployed in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Back in the Schmidt days, most Leica product repairs were conducted locally.

BTW the only closest news release that I could find is related to this matter is as follows: Leica Camera AG appoints Jane Cui as a President of Leica Camera Asia.

If you check out Schmidt's Facebook page you can still find hints of Leica. But their official website has completely removed all Leica-related material.

To this day there are a few Leica Stores in Hong Kong, which I believe are all operated and maintained by the Shanghai subsidiary.

Personally, I'm disappointed by this entire move, even though I don't get to use a lot of Leica stuff.  Direct company marketing/sales is not a surprising move over time, as exemplified by such brands as Nikon (reclaiming sales/marketing/service control in HK since around 1996), so why can't Leica set up more local subsidiaries (not just representative offices) in places like Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong?  That would definitely help serving its clientele in the said areas and/or regions.


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  • Jim Hu

    What makes you think that Singapore doesn’t have Leica subsidiary? I have seen not only multiple Leica stores in Singapore, but also a Leica customer service center for Southeast Asia region.

    • malchick743

      A direct Leica subsidiary denotes a representative office run by Leica itself and not via other partnerships (like the former Schmidt). Leica Stores in S’pore and other customer service facilities could be directly run and managed by Leica’s subsidiary in Shanghai instead, based on reports.

      As for the custom service center you mentioned, does it conduct repairs/maintenance in-house, or does it only collect repair orders then send them to Shanghai for the actual repair?

      • Jim Hu

        I have not had the opportunity to send my camera in for a repair (fortunately) to comment on your question, but when I went there with my camera for sensor cleaning, the staff did the cleaning for me on the spot in their in-house lab. In my observation, the office was a Leica office instead of a third party office. Also their website writes “Customer Care Centre in Singapore is equipped with Leica Rangefinder and sensor calibration machine for the M digital cameras. The equipment carries out adjustment and calibration checks, in particular, it confirms and aligns sensor flatness. These services are previously conducted only in the Leica Customer Care Centre back in Germany. The waiting period for servicing is now shorten as basic servicing needs can now be conducted locally in Singapore.”

        So I thought that Leica is at least incorporated in Singapore.

        • Jonathan van Smit

          lenses still needed to go back to Leica Germany for calibration. The Singapore & HK service centres could only carry out the simplest of tasks, ie rangefinder adjustment & sensor cleaning, which some people were able to do themselves

        • malchick743

          Just checked and indeed you’re correct — there exists a “Leica Camera Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.” which services Asean regions like S’pore, Malay, Indonesia etc. but not Taiwan.

  • Thorsten von Overgaard

    Leica Asia have had it’s HQ in Singapore for years, run by Sunil who has been the most dynamic managers in Leica for years, running Asia, NZ and Australia which also recently has seen direct ownership/management by Leica.

    The announcement of an Asia HQ in Shanghai is recent and marks Leica taking over the rest of Asia, and likely Shanghai is above Singapore who ised to run the whole region. There might still be special things/arrangements in Korea or other places, but the trend is clearly that Leica takes over 100% ownership and control. As it happened when they took over the Singapore store a few years ago.

  • Jonathan van Smit

    The HK Leica boutiques are/were owned & operated by Schmidt according to Dr Kaufmann in late January

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