Huawei teams up with Leica to take smartphone photography to the next level

by: Bogdan PetrovanFebruary 25, 2016


Huawei is teaming up with legendary camera maker Leica.

The two companies announced their “strategic partnership” today at the CP+ photo show in Yokohama, Japan. The press release for the announcement reveals little in terms of concrete information, but it does say that Huawei and Leica will cooperate on “research and development, design, co-engineering, user experience, marketing and retail distribution.” More details of the partnership will be announced later.

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A legend in the realm of photography, century-old Leica is known for its iconic M series rangefinder cameras, which feature high-quality optics in lightweight bodies with classy designs.

Leica is no stranger to collaborations in the smartphone segment: the German company partnered with Panasonic for several cameras, as well as the Lumix CM1 camera-phone.

On the other side, Huawei stands to benefit by associating its name with an iconic company like Leica. While Huawei’s hardware is generally excellent, its smartphone cameras have been eclipsed by offerings by Samsung and LG. If Huawei can use Leica’s expertise in optics to up its camera game, it would be another step in its ambitious plan to take the crown in the smartphone industry. Even having the Leica name on the next Mate could help with sales, as the plateau we’ve hit in terms of specifications makes camera differentiation crucial.

Leica wouldn’t be the first traditional camera company to lend its name to smartphone makers. Many devices feature Zeiss lenses, for instance. That said, we hope that Leica’s collaboration with Huawei will be more than just a branding exercise.

Would a Leica connection make it more likely that you buy Huawei for your next phone?

Show Press Release

Leaders in the smartphone and photographic worlds come together to create a premium visual world renaissance

Today Huawei Consumer Business Group (BG) and Leica Camera AG are delighted to announce the start of a strategic partnership, a co-operation with shared premium ambitions and spirit, which will see both technology and photography brands combining their shared ethos in a long-term commitment to the art of craftsmanship, meticulous engineering and the spirit of winning collaboration, to create a powerhouse in the reinvention of smartphone photography.

In 2012, Huawei became the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer and was the first Chinese company to sell more than 100 million mobile phones in one year in 2015. The first Chinese brand to appear on the prestigious Interbrand Best Global Brands list in 2014, Huawei soared to number 88 in 2015 whilst launching the globally critically acclaimed Huawei Watch and Huawei P8. In 2016, Huawei looks to build on its success with Leica Camera: a mutually beneficial collaboration with the most iconic name in the photographic world to bring joint superior excellence to consumers.

For over 100 years, premium iconic camera manufacturer Leica Camera has been creating lightweight cameras favoured by street photographer pioneers and world-class optical lenses, fulfilling the passions of its community. With ingenious optical engineering and formidable craftsmanship, Leica cameras, recognisable by their ‘red dot’ branding, are German engineering at its best, and continue toattract new generations of consumers who aspire to achieve “the Leica look” and own these masterpieces of design. In addition to making precision-crafted masterpieces, Leica supports prominent photographers and emerging new talent around the world.

Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei Consumer BG said: “We choose our partners carefully, and with this extraordinary collaboration we are offering our wide customer base and consumers the best elements of two expert brands in harmony: combining innovation and design, enhancing the user experience and continuing to inspire amazing advancement in human technology through exceptional premium imaging quality. Leica is a legend in the world of photography; we believe no other manufacturer has revolutionised the industry as much as them. We, Huawei, take the utmost pride in exceptional quality and Leica is in a class of its own in its sector.”

Oliver Kaltner, CEO of Leica Camera AG said: “The strategic alliance between Huawei and Leica Camera demonstrates the desire of two rapidly growing and globally active brands to continuously push the envelope of the technologically possible. In addition to innovative strength and premium standards, our two companies are united by the commitment to uncompromising quality. The technology partnership with Huawei offers Leica Camera an excellent opportunity to introduce its proven optical expertise into a new product segment and to unlock exciting business areas in the field of mobile devices. Smartphones make a very important contribution to the world of photography and open an important door for Leica to new target groups and fields of application.”

“The legendary status of the Leica brand is founded on a long tradition of innovation, highest precision and craftsmanship. I’m pleased and convinced that the traditional German medium-sized company Leica Camera will bring its values and comprehensive expertise in optical engineering to the long-term partnership with Huawei in order to achieve the best possible imaging results in the field of smartphone photography – and to take it to the next level of quality“, emphasizes Dr Andreas Kaufmann, majority shareholder and chairman of the supervisory board of Leica Camera AG.

More details on the culmination of Huawei and Leica’s partnership, which will span research and development, design, co-engineering, user experience, marketing and retail distribution, will be shared as the partnership continues.

  • Definitely it makes more likely to buy their devices! Leica has some of the best lenses in the world. Huawei is clearly here to take over! I will wait until they reach almost perfection in all aspects and I will convert myself to them!

    • Intergalactic_wolf

      Calm down. Lol jk, me too.

  • shreyans

    If it turns good then huawei needs to collaborate with Google for software
    Then a perfect phone is made by 2017

  • permazorch

    This really excites me. The fun and beautiful apps dedicated to photography have always been one if my favorite aspects of smartphones.
    Now, if we can only get some decent hardware at a reasonable price, I’d be most grateful. Always envied Apple & Samsung in photo capabilities, always repelled by their pricing.
    Bring it Huawei! Leica is a rocketeer!

  • Allyn K C

    About time! I’ve been expecting partnerships between phone and camera makers for a few years now – and a Leica partnership is about as good as it could possibly get. Deffinitely further strengthens the appearance of Huawei , they seem to be making all the right moves lately.

  • Myamo

    Reality: Huawei has (wisely) decided to put an effort into improving their cameras. Part of it i s marketing – that is, by putting a brand on it. Leica supplies the brand in return for (a lot of) money and Huawei pays for a sticker on their phones. No technology or expertise will be exchanged.

    • Anon

      yeah thanks for the information. you must be an insider to know so many things /s

      • Myamo

        You don’t really have to be an insider. Do you think Beats really did any difference in HTC M7? Was the sound worse without it in M8? It’s a sticker/stamp on the back of the phone… I can’t imagine a better brand for cell phone photography than Leica, so kudos to Huawei for getting it.

        It’s all about the brand though – it’s super hip, great design etc. It really is the perfect branding. If Huawei actually wanted to improve their cameras tech wise they should probably have gone with the compact greats like Canon. But for sure, Leica is the superior “brand”.

        Not hating on either brand. On the contrary I think the honor 7 was the best phone of 2015. But lets call it what it is: branding.

  • King_Android

    I mean smartphone cameras are already seeing some DLSR type of photos. Now with this new OIS within the sensor instead of the lenses, I see some major breakthroughs in the near future. I dont know how much this partnership could actually help besides their “image”. No pun intended. lol

  • Arman

    Definitely sounds good!

  • Alejandro Delgado

    i think i chose the right time to jump to Huawei ship. These people are about to do some great things!