Olympus/JIP Update: Changes To Imaging Business in Malaysia

Olympus Malaysia has just made an announcement on their official pages on the changes that will happen to the imaging business in Malaysia. In case you have missed the announcement you can go to  their Facebook post here (click). Considering that I am based in Malaysia and I do have quite a huge number of Malaysian readers, I thought it would be great to go through these changes and discuss them here in this blog entry, just to keep everyone updated. I have also just had an online meeting with the Olympus team last evening, I have been prompted about these updates ahead of the announcement today, so I shall share what I do know the best I can. 

Here is the video version of this article, for those who prefer to watch a video format instead of reading (click here). 
The most important change to take note is, the Olympus Malaysia camera division will close down, and they have appointed an official distributor to carry on the imaging business. The sole distributor company is OMD World Imaging Sdn Bhd, which is fully owned by YL Camera. For those of you outside of Malaysia, YL Camera is one of the oldest, largest and most respected camera retailers in Malaysia. I have personally shopped there and purchased many items over the past few years from YL Camera. I cannot think of a better company to take over the Olympus brand in Malaysia, and I fully believe that they are capable of keeping the business running, and ensuring a smooth transition process. OMD World Imaging will full take over everything starting 1 December 2020, ahead of the timetable of Olympus being fully transferred to JIP. 

A few other important changes to take note for Olympus consumers here in Malaysia, the current official service center in Kelana Square is being shut down, and will be fully relocated to Sunway Velocity Mall. This new service center will commence operation on 1 December 2020. All the current repairs, servicing and any product issues will be taken care by the new service center in Sunway Velocity Mall, under OMD World Imaging. Full support and after sales services will still be provided, this is ensured during the transition process. 
New Service Centre Location:
V06-06-02 Signature 2, Lingkaran SV, Sunway Velocity, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan.
New Operating Hours:
Mondays - Fridays: 9:00am to 5:30pm
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays: Closed

The Olympus brand is not going anywhere, the sales of cameras, lenses and accessories will continue in Malaysia. OMD World Imaging being the official distributor is responsible to bring in the Olympus products into Malaysia, and then distribute to all the local camera retailers all over the country. If you already have a favourite retailer, the camera shop that you purchase all your Olympus gear from, you can still continue to support that retailer. 

One more important note - all the social media platforms, website and online store will be discontinued. OMD World Imaging will start new Facebook Page, Instagram account as well as new sites. Do follow the new links, because the old sites and pages will no longer be updated from today onward. They may even be shut down in near future. 

I want to talk about the closure of Olympus Malaysia's camera division. This affects me more than I'd like to admit. I was employed officially by Olympus Malaysia from 2013 to 2017, I have worked more than 4 years in Olympus, serving as their Product Specialist. My tasks were to engage customers on the ground level, organizing consumer events, photography workshops, product launches, touch and try events, as well as doing product training for everyone (staff, consumers, photographers, dealers), to engage photographers, media and take care of anything Olympus product related. I did enjoy my time working for Olympus tremendously, I have met many wonderful people, both from internal colleagues to the industry partners and friends. I have also learned so much from my time there, and have grown to be who I am today, largely thanks to my time in Olympus. 

Many of you may not know this, but I was sent to Japan for product training on a yearly basis. I have learned the trade secrets, understand the how the cameras and lenses work, the design and thought process of the engineers in making OM-D and Zuiko products - essentially these enabled me to be able to share my tips and tricks on Olympus products here in this blog and my YouTube channel. My level of product knowledge was unfairly higher than most people because of this exclusive training that I had access to, and believe me, I know a lot more secrets that I cannot even share here. If only you knew half of the things I knew, you will have a different level of appreciation and admiration for the Olympus brand. One thing I can say - Olympus is second to none when it comes to lens making, know-how and expertise in optics design, and overall lens manufacturing technology. You may choose to disagree with me, because you have not seen what I have seen, but if you have, I am sure you will see Olympus very, very differently. 

Therefore, it greatly saddens me to find out that Olympus Malaysia will exit very soon, and I will miss the people that I have worked with closely, and all the fond memories that I have had. It is one thing to leave the company, since I do still have a great working relationship with Olympus Malaysia, considering the fact that I am now an Olympus Visionary, but everything is coming to an end. I guess the saying is right - all good things do come to an end eventually. 

Here are some images of my ex-colleagues, the team that I worked closely with in Olympus Malaysia

During the meeting with the Olympus team last evening, the question about the status of Olympus Visionary program for Malaysia did pop up. We did not get a definite answer, and it is not up to Olympus Malaysia to decide this anymore. Whether the contract for my Visionary status will be renewed or not depends on the new company, OMD World Imaging, as well as JIP after they have taken over. Contractually, I will still be an Olympus Visionary until the end of this year. At this point of time, I don't know if I will still be one in 2021. 

There are two possible outcomes - the first one being the more optimistic one, JIP/New company will renew my contract and want me to continue to work closely with the brand as an ambassador, and after reviewing the contract and everything is agreeable, yes, I will jump in and continue being an Olympus Visionary, no second thought! I have been an Olympus Visionary for 2 years, and I think everyone knows that I am sort of the unofficial Olympus ambassador for many years before that. You all know how much I love the brand, and how much I love talking about Olympus products. 

The other outcome, which is not that optimistic, is the decision not to renew the Visionary contract, and honestly, that is also perfectly fine with me. I know a lot of you are deeply concerned and I am very thankful to have an audience that genuinely care about me and my well-being. But hey, I cannot be an Olympus Visionary forever! Also, I am not going anywhere. Just because I stop becoming an Olympus Visionary that does not mean I will stop shooting, or making new content. I am a photographer, it is in my bones to continue shooting, creating new photographs and share them here! I will be here updating this blog and my YouTube with new content, that is not going to change, I will share as much as I can, about Olympus products, about photography, and whatever that I think will benefit you beautiful people!

Of course I will continue to use Olympus. Considering the seriously of Covid-19 pandemic which I don't foresee going away any time soon, the photography business has taken a huge hit. I will be honest - I have no more shoots for the rest of this year. I did manage to somehow secure quite a few jobs earlier when the lockdown was lifted in June, and business was slowly recovering, but now the government decided to do another round of partial lockdown, prohibiting all events and gatherings, I basically lost all remaining jobs of the year, they are all effectively cancelled. Knowing that I have zero income from my photography business, it would be stupid to invest in a new system! The sensible thing to do is to continue to use my current Olympus OM-D system, to minimize cost to the business. The Olympus OM-D is more than sufficient for my professional photography work (I can't speak for everyone), and definitely it will continue to be more than sufficient for a very long time. 

So, Visionary or no Visionary, Robin Wong is here to stay, I will shoot, shutter therapy goes on, and you won't see me go away just yet!

That's all the update I have to share about new changes to the Olympus business in Malaysia, and also how I felt about the closure of Olympus Malaysia. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. I cannot promise to have all the answers though!

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  1. All the best to you Robin, keep on posting shutter therapy images, i do not care what system you use to take them.
    Hopefully your visionary contract will be renewed or the new company sets up a similar brand ambassador program and makes you an important part of it.
    Personally i will keep my Olympus equipment for now because it does exactly what i bought it for and i have fun using it. But i am just a hobbyist and have no business depending on my choice of camera and lenses.

  2. I wish you the best as the world and your life changes. Personally, you have been a voice of normalcy I needed this year - a replacement for my missed shutter therapy.

    1. I wish you all the best, too, Robin! Through all this adversity, you have still managed to bring us some great images.

  3. All the best to you and Olympus!

  4. It is uncertain time for most of us esp so for those not in financial freedom position and need steady stream of income. you are young+skill+positive outlook - you will be okay. Best wishes. Keep safe and take care

  5. I hope you the best. Your blog has been always interesting and your picture always on a very high level!
    Good day from Daniel M

  6. Mr. Wong,
    I've used Olympus since 1976. My first SLR digital was the EVolt E-500. I and my family own at least 10 OLY ILC cameras, with the EM-1.2 being the newest. I discovered your blog about 4 years ago and have found it quite interesting, informative, easy to follow, and, not the least, enthusiastic. Thank you for the great work and attitude. I wish you all the best and sincerely hope your contract is renewed. You and Peter Forsgard really make it a pleasure to learn about Olympus and photography. Thank you.
    Larry Knox
    Richmond, TX

  7. Sir,

    Just bought a Olympus camera and lens. Any advice which website to register online for the warranty?

    Thanks and stay safe.