Could you tell us a bit about the new Leica Galerie in Singapore? Does it have any features that distinguishes it from the others around the world?
The Galerie in Singapore is probably our 16th or 17th one. The Galerie is an important part of continually building our brand, as it is not only about the hardware. The camera is just one component of our brand. Photography, art, and our photographers are also important parts of the brand. Through the Galerie, we can really showcase all of these artworks and we would like to continue to grow the network of galleries that we have thus far.
We picked the Fullerton Hotel for the Singapore Galerie since it is such a great location. As a brand, the Fullerton has built itself a lot of prestige within Singapore, so it is a good match for us. Each Galerie has a different format, as we try to integrate local elements. So if you go around the world and visit the different Galeries, you will see heritage elements used throughout. The one in Singapore also has that. If you look at the content of the Galeries, we showcase globally known photographers and their works, but also local artists and their photography.
Secondly, we also have some vintage hardware pieces at the Singapore Galerie. In a sense, it is like a little museum. Right now, only Singapore has this feature.
As the President of Leica Asia, can you talk to us about your plans for the region within the next couple of years?
The Galerie was part of these plans. And for the next couple of years, what is important in my eyes is to continue developing, building, and enriching the brand further. We would like to get our Asian customers to understand the brand and become part of the brand experience. This is something we have been tackling with the Galeries. They offer the brand experience, thus, we want to establish this project within several other places.
Furthermore, we want to build a strong Leica community to really connect with our fans and users. In the next few years, we want to continue building this community and within this community, there will be different segments that we will be working with. On one hand, there are a lot of young users that contrast with the more classic older users. We will have different programs to be able to address all kinds of different target groups.
We also want to work with amateur photographers and share with them experiences from the rest of our photographer network in order to teach and inspire them. We will offer more programs within the Leica Academy, such as photo master classes and photo journeys.
How are you attracting a younger group of Leica users?
If you think about our partnership with Huawei, that is definitely a strong way of reaching the smartphone generation. Today, most people learn to take photographs using their smartphones and that is definitely one of the areas we want to continue working on through our collaboration with Huawei in order to reach a broader range of customers.
Secondly, I was surprised when I took this job because I found that the Asian user base is much younger compared to the European user base. In terms of people loving photography, I have seen the younger generation showing great interest. If you think about building up the Galeries and working with the Leica Academy, this is also part of establishing a connection to younger customers.
Our outreach on social media is another way we enhance this connection further, as we try to fit into the younger user’s lifestyle, as opposed to having them to adapt to our lifestyle.