Despite frigid temps, Apple’s iPhone 5 launches to enthusiastic reception in South Korea

“Apple’s newest smartphone, the iPhone 5, became available in Korea as of midnight on Thursday, almost three months after it was first released overseas,” The Chosun Ilbo reports.

“Mobile providers such as SK Telecom and KT, which had been taking pre-orders online for the past week, held massive launch events to attract subscribers,” The Chosun Ilbo reports. “‘Online pre-orders ended just two hours after we received reservations on Dec. 1, as we immediately racked up 50,000 requests,’ an SK executive staffer said. KT has attracted more subscribers, with a whopping 250,000 pre-orders.”

The Chosun Ilbo reports, “The number of iPhone 5 subscribers [in South Korea] will reach up to 2 million by the end of this month, industry sources speculate.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Despite the below-zero temperatures and light snow, subscribers eagerly queued for the event, chatting with other iPhone fans while drinking coffee and munching on sandwiches provided by the No. 2 mobile carrier,” Lee Minji and Kim You Jin report for Yonhap.

“KT said earlier that pre-orders for the iPhone 5 in the first two hours topped the record the iPhone 4S logged on its first day of pre-orders in November 2011,” Lee and Kim report. “‘The arrival of the iPhone 5 will give both KT and SKT a distinct advantage over the third major mobile operator in Korea, LG Uplus, whose LTE service has successfully lured customers from KT and SKT,’ Moody’s Investors Service analyst Serena Won wrote in a note.”

Lee and Kim report, “As of October, iPhone users claimed roughly 11 percent of the country’s 31.4 million smartphone population, according to the note.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s having a party right smack dab in Samsungorea’s front yard. Enjoy the view, thieves.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jake” for the heads up.]


  1. The home court advantage of Samsung is huge. Koreans are known to be very loyal to home-grown brands, so for Apple to make *any* inroads in that market is a testament to its strength.

    Ask any foreign brand (Moto, ZTE, Nokia, RIM) and see how well (or how poorly) they’re doing in Korea.

    1. You are right. I would add that the home court advantage for any Korean product is huge. Cars, electronics, foods, etc. Apple has done an amazing job breaking into the Korea market.

      Yet there are still not official apple stores in Korea and Mac computers don’t do that well here. Due to the over reliance of IE, active X and flash. The government plays a huge role in putting in barriers for non-Korean business to do business in Korea.

  2. Again, when consumers have a choice to buy an iPhone or an Android, the buy the iPhone. Android’s high market share has be based on Android vs. nothing and the consumer buy the crap option.

        1. I both agree and disagree with you statement. Koreans don’t strive to be different. They try their best to be same or normal while at the same time trying to be special or better than the other person. Koreans do often see having an iPhone as special and fashionable, and many Koreans steer clear of the iPhone because it is different or because its a from a “foreign” company. Koreans tend to blindly support Samsung(or any other Korean company) because it is Korean and for no other reason. They almost always assume that I use Apple products because I am American because thats how they think when it comes to Korean products and services.

          You may not say it but I will. In general Koreans (in Korea) are very shallow and superficial. Almost every Korean with an iPhone I have meet here don’t use them very well. Very few apps except for basically “stock” apps that nearly all Korean smart phone users have, very little music, movies and photos. Most opt for the smallest memory capacity available because they don’t use much of it a just a few gigs here and there. Korean often just buy expensive things for show nothing more.

          1. Guess we’re living in different worlds in Korea I’ve resided here off and on for 30 years and find life rich and delightfully non-superficial. I also think it’s very risky to generalize about app use. After all remember the Korean film festival with films entirely produced on iPhones? And the YouTube Apple girl? I think the one common denominator among my iPhone-using Korean friends is their strong sense of independence.

            1. Yes iPhone using Koreans tend to be a little different from group. Many places have film festivals for films made from iPhones and iPads.

              Not superficial? How common is plastic surgery here? How big is fashion here? Among other things. The whole idea of “face” saving face etc is a superficial concept. Honestly I would love to see your Korean world. Seriously. It would be totally refreshing. Where are you from by the way?

  3. I’m beginning to enjoy the daily Samsung slamming – after reading the htc / apple agreement which expressly protects the inner halo / unique user experience of apple’s phones and tablets, saying it’s NOT FOR SALE OR LICENSE, and expressly wars against cloning, and further, htc’s acknowledgement of all this as primary in the final agreement – samsung’s bogus claim that apple’s designs were for sale to htc, and thus, should be for sale here, have proven to be a gamble they lost – Samsung are hacking, thieving, moles, emboldened – and likely encouraged by a false sense of security their relationship with the equally thieving google – they should all stop confusing innovation with coming up with more creative ways to steal from apple – sickening.

  4. The #1 person in line at SK Telecom, a 28-year-old Ms. An Hyejin, became a minor celebrity today. Fittingly enough, she switched from a galaxy SII. Living here in Seoul I am fascinated by the stalwart Apple fans who blithely ignore the daily flood of Samsung-slanted news and stay loyal. Mind you, there’s no Apple store in all of Korea and none on the horizon. The unique success of the iphone here since 2009 (the only foreign-made-phone ever to succeed) shows that Apple continues to make compelling products that can find buyers anywhere, in the world especially including China, which tends to follow Korean trends.

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