Apple is always looking to expand internationally, but as of late, it is looking to open up its first Apple Store in South Korea. In other words, Apple could very well be looking to compete with Samsung on its home turf.
Apparently, Apple retail executives have been looking for store locations near Samsung’s three-story flagship store in Seoul’s Gangnam District and the fashionable Garosu-gil shopping street.
Currently, Apple has almost 500 retail stores all over the world, 36 of which are in China. In South Korea, however, Apple has constantly struggled to take a large chunk of the market; domestic favorites Samsung and LG together account for 80% of the market, and the company currently has to rely on third-party retailers to sell its products.
What’s more, Apple has not been performing as well as it has been lately, suffering a 27% drop in net quarterly profit compared with last year. Meanwhile, before Samsung’s recent recall of the Galaxy Note 7 could cost the company more than $1 billion, the Korean company reported in July that it has had its most profitable quarter in two years.
Even if Apple does decide to take its retail stores into Samsung’s home turf, it is worth noting that any opening will take time. Until then, we will just have to see how things play out between the two tech giants.
Apple’s hunt for retail real estate in Seoul comes as Samsung grapples with a recall of its latest smartphones amid reports of batteries in the Galaxy Note 7 catching fire. Analysts estimate the recall of 2.5 million devices could cost Samsung more than $1 billion.
Samsung’s share of the global smartphone market rose to 22.3% in the most recent quarter from 21.8% a year earlier, according to research firm Gartner. Over the same period, Apple’s share fell to 12.9% from 14.6%.