First Apple Store coming to Korea, documents show

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First Apple Store coming to Korea, documents show

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China’s 37th Apple Store in Jinan, Shandong Province, on May 21.

Apple is set to launch its first retail store in Korea, with the location likely to be the popular shopping street of Garosu-gil in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, real estate documents show.

A certified copy of the real estate registration submitted to the Gangnam District Office reveals Apple Korea signed a 20-year contract starting from March this year for three connected plots of land on the quarter-mile tourist destination of Garosu-gil. The three plots combined make up 526 square meters (5,660 square feet).

Sources say the landlord obtained approval to build a single, five-story building on the space but recently submitted a request to the Gangnam District Office to change the design to one that would accommodate an Apple retail space.

The Apple Store is likely to take up all or part of the building. The site is currently behind scaffolding with a notice of construction under way.
Apple Korea would not confirm whether it was opening a new store.

Speculation on Korea’s first Apple Store emerged after the Korean operation of the American tech giant posted a recruitment notice on its job website on Aug. 1 for an AppleCare Area Manager for Korea. The manager will “lead a team of AppleCare’s At Home Advisors who are responsible for providing world class support to our customers in Korea,” the notice said.

The job description indicates Apple Korea is bracing to step up the quality of its customer service.

Customers in Korea have long complained about subpar service offered by Apple, even though the iPhone launched here seven years ago. In-person aftersales service is currently provided by authorized resellers instead of Apple itself.

Korea, the home turf of Samsung Electronics, has also been one of the last developed countries in Asia to receive new Apple products, including the iPhone, when they are released. The chances of Korea becoming part of the first batch of countries to receive the latest Apple products would increase with an Apple Store.

Within Asia, Apple operates retail spaces in three markets, with eight in Japan, six in Hong Kong and 37 in China.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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