While the iPhone is still the most popular smartphone on the planet, it has, in recent years, faced stiffer and stiffer competition from competing smartphone manufacturers. Probably Apple’s biggest rival in the smartphone market, however, is Samsung, whose Galaxy series of smartphones have for years been considered among the top Android smartphones, and new releases have been consistently labeled as the “phone to finally topple the iPhone.”
Despite, or perhaps because of the rivalry, Apple confirmed this morning that it is planning to open its first retail store in South Korea – the store will be placed in the capital city of Seoul, the hometown of rival Samsung. After publishing 15 retail job listings to their corporate website today, the company made an official announcement regarding their plans. “We’re excited about opening our first Apple Store in Korea, one of the world’s economic centers and a leader in telecommunication and technology, with a vibrant K-culture,” Apple said in a statement to Reuters.
Although the hiring listings neglected to specify the exact location or a specific start date for employees, Apple’s statement did read that the company is “hiring the team that will offer [their] customers in Seoul the service, education and entertainment that is loved by Apple customers around the world.” Store leader and business manager were among the positions that the company had posted.
Apple declined to comment on the exact location of the retail store or a time frame for the build out. However, Reuters did point out that coverage by Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s largest news organization, claimed that construction of the store was already underway. According to Yonhap, the retail store will be located in “a southern district of Seoul” and would likely be completed by the end of November.
Apple has, for quite some time, been trying to expand heavily into Asia. Although the company’s focus has been centered on China and India, the new retail store in Seoul could do wonders for international sales. At the moment, iPhones are only available to residents of South Korea via Apple’s online store and third-party retailers. After the release of the iPhone 6s, iPhone sales accounted for 33% of the smartphone market share in South Korea, and iPhone 7 sales so far have been promising. Retail stores in the country could perhaps push Apple over the edge, overtaking hometown hero Samsung as the number one smartphone manufacturer in the country.