Recent reports about the state of the photographic industry indicate that there has been a definite slow down. Just about everybody reported lower sales volumes. This was further underlined by the fact that Nikon has laid off 1000 people to make up for substantial losses in their business. In addition they closed one of their manufacturing facilities in China. It was also reported that Ricoh/Pentax lost 10 billion yen. They are planning to restructure the company, something that has already been done by Panasonic and Nikon. Samsung even went one step further by announcing that they will leave the camera business altogether.
The notable exception is Leica. For the last few years they have achieved substantial increases in business, a trend that has continued during their last fiscal year.
Over the years Leica has been thoroughly criticized as being out of touch with market trends, that they are just trying to hold on to their past glory. Leica indeed has taken a definitely different approach. They have steadfastly continued with their production methods which are totally without mass production but offer extremely high tolerances and general attention to detail and overall quality. That is paying off.
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