Leica partners Huawei to enter smartphone camera market

Richard Yu (left), CEO of Huawei, and Oliver Kaltner, CEO of Leica.
Richard Yu (left), CEO of Huawei, and Oliver Kaltner, CEO of Leica.PHOTOS: BLOOMBERG / ST FILE

YOKOHAMA (JAPAN) - German camera maker Leica and China smartphone maker Huawei have entered into a long-term partnership that could see modules of Leica entering new smartphones.

The partnership is said to span research and development on design, engineering and user experience, and includes marketing and retail distribution. Details were not disclosed.

"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," said Huawei chief executive officer Richard Yu, on Friday in a statement.

Huawei is one of the world's largest smartphone makers and was the first Chinese company to sell more than 100 million mobile phones in one year in 2015.

"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," said Leica Camera chief executive officer Oliver Kaltner.

With over 100 years of history in making lenses and rangefinder cameras, Leica holds an important place in the photography world with photojournalism legends like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa using its cameras for some of the world's most iconic images.