Apple pushing hard for Korean ‘MP3 player’ market share

“Local MP3 player makers anticipate the Korean market will grow to some 3.5 million units this year from 1.8 million last year. Contrary to major foreign digital music player markets such as the U.S. and Japan, where HDD-based devices dominate 60-70 percent of the market, flash players command 70-80 percent of the Korean market,” Kim Sung-jin reports for The Korea Times. “The three largest Korean brands – ReignCom’s iRiver, Samsung Electronics’ Yepp and Cowon System’s iAUDIO – control an estimated 80 percent of the domestic MP3 player market.”

Kim Sung-jin reports, “Due to the much stronger foothold of local brands, foreign competitors, especially Apple, have had a tough time in the Korean market. Apple has a small share in the Korean MP3 player market, but looks to emerge as the third-largest supplier in the Korean market this year.”

Kim Sung-jin reports, “Local manufacturers previously anticipated that iPod Shuffle could be a bestseller in foreign markets but it would not turn out to be a huge hit here as Korean consumers are more inclined toward feature-packed devices, but lots of Korean consumers are charmed by sleek designs and cheaper prices of iPod series. Apple’s iPod Shuffle lacks diverse features such as a display and a FM radio tuner.”

MacDailyNews Note: It also lacks an outboard motor… oh yeah, and a stopwatch.

Kim Sung-jin continues, “‘We cannot figure out by how much our market share has increased in Korea after the launch of new iPods, including the Shuffle, and the price cut,’ said Kim Mi-roo, marketing assistant of Apple Computer Korea. ‘But after the price cut, we sold more 4-GB iPod Mini than 1-GB iPod Shuffle, for the HDD-model has more memory and features than the flash model with the price difference being only 50,000 won,’ she said. The aggressive price cut attempt by Apple shows the company’s eager desire to get a firm grip on the Korean market, the base camp of ReignCom and Samsung, and it seems to be working well. Korea accounted for a little less than 10 percent of the global MP3 player market last year.”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple takes chunk of Korean music player market – March 21, 2005
Korean music player price war prompts ‘patriotic’ marketing by Korean firms – March 04, 2005
iRiver bows to Apple’s iPod shuffle, slashes MP3 flash-based player prices up to 25 percent – January 31, 2005
iRiver hires U.S. porn starlet Jenna Jameson to promote portable media players – January 18, 2005
Portable digital device maker iRiver bites into Apple (literally) via website – January 18, 2005
iRiver CEO on Apple iPod shuffle: ‘It will be very difficult for users to find their favorite songs’ – January 17, 2005
iRiver President: Apple can keep the ‘iPod crown,’ we want the ‘entertainment crown’ – April 30, 2004
Microsoft poised to release ‘iPod killer,’ enlists Creative, iRiver, Napster, others – March 17, 2004
New iRiver flash-memory player: one-eighth the capacity of Apple’s ‘iPod mini’ for US$80 more – February 09, 2004


  1. Yeh-heh-hessss. Kim Sung-jin, Kim Mi-roo, Sum Yung Gai . . . Who can keep them all straight?! I mean, come onnnn, people! What does it matter? Those Koreans are tough nuts to crack — and they EAT my species!!! — but Apple will not be defeated. Yeh-he-hesssss. Besides, everyone knows that the Koreans like the little devices and trinkets. They fit their tiny hands better! Hey, I keed, I keed. But seriously, you know it’s true. I mean, they’re Asians — everything is smaller! So, the iPod shuffle should be a perfect fit! And by the way . . . who in the hell is “Cowon Systems”??? Sounds like someone for me . . .

    TO POOP ON!!!

  2. THe article proves that if you throw an iPod shuffle at a Korean crowd, chances are that:

    1) the catcher will already have a Korean-made flash mp3 player;

    2) a Mr. Kim will get it.

  3. Plan for Peace on the Korean Peninsula:

    1) Load 1,000,000 iPod shuffles with “subversive” music and audio books (like the Bill of Rights, in Korean);

    2) Bundle 1 USB charger for every 5 shuffles;

    3) Load the whole mess into the bomb-bays of a flotilla of B-2 bombers;

    4) Saturation bomb everything north of the 38th parallel, ie North Korea for those you who slept through geography and current events;

    5) Sit back and enjoy a cold one as the NoKor regime collapses as the people either figure out they’ve been lied to for 50 years or the regime exhausts itself trying to pick up a million subversive little “mind-bombs”.

  4. Motorola used to OWN the cell phone market. Check the brand of your current cell phone. The odds are very good that it came from Korea or was made by a Korean company. Even if it is not, it probably has a high number of Korean-made components.
    The point is: do not underestimate these people. BTW- Samsung makes Apple’s LCD Displays and quite a few component parts for various Apple products. Get the drift.
    I’m not fear-mongering, just saying they will prove to be tough competitors for Apple. It will be good for everybody.

  5. SAMSUNG is awesome..but again.. these companies DONT KNOW SOFTWARE..

    they rely on WMP and PlaysForSure.. because Apple isn’t helping other MP3 makers

    SO, just like SOny, they can’t touch Apple for end-to-end usability

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