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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple today announced that its first retail store in South Korea opens on Saturday, January 27, at 10:00 a.m. local time, just a few weeks prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang on Friday, February 9.


The store is located in the upscale Garosugil shopping area in the Gangnam District of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The location will be open seven days per week and, like other Apple retail stores, it will host Today at Apple sessions and have a Genius Bar for device repairs and troubleshooting.

By the looks of it, this should be Apple's 500th retail store around the world. That total includes the Apple Park Visitor Center and Infinite Loop locations, which both sell Apple products alongside promotional merchandise, and it also factors in the rare permanent closure of Apple's Simi Valley store last year.

It's possible that Apple could announce at least one other new store opening between now and late January, such as its nearly ready Vienna, Austria location, in which case the Korean store would obviously not be exactly 500th. We've reached out to Apple for an official store count and we'll update if we hear back.

Apple is promoting its Garosugil store with a colorful, animated greeting in both English and Korean on its website, with a matching mural along the storefront that now reveals the January 27 opening date to those passing by.

Apple confirmed plans to open its first store in South Korea just over a year ago, and both construction and hiring have been underway since. The store was originally reported to open December 30, but the location evidently wasn't quite ready in time, and it'll now officially open in less than two weeks.

Apple's first two stores opened in May 2001 at shopping malls in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Glendale, California. By our count, Apple now has 272 retail stores in the United States, while this Garosugil location will be its 228th retail store elsewhere, pushing it to the 500 mark in less than 17 years.

Apple remains in the process of renovating dozens of those stores with a fresher aesthetic. Many of the locations have expanded by adding a floor or taking over adjacent storefronts, while some stores have relocated entirely.

Article Link: Apple's 500th Store and First in Korea Opening January 27 Ahead of 2018 Winter Olympics
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macrumors member
Aug 29, 2007
Uh-oh. That's 1 store for every 15 million people worldwide. So Apple will have to reach 1500 stores before they get around to us here in New Zealand.

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
Would have been amusing if Apple used it's "inner Bart Simpson" here and set up shop a bit closer to the Samsung store. But maybe they did and this is the closest available.


macrumors G3
May 30, 2002
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Store is going to be busy busy

Let’s really hope so, and beyond the Winter Olympics.

PS: is this not the second time Winter Olympics came to Soel?

That's a dope graphic.

You could partially blame Samsung and other Korean manufactures for that. They've been in cahoots with the government over keeping Apple at bay for as long as possible.

I don’t know about that. The first year will be the proof of wether or not sales where stiffled to slide to this coercion being done.

I wonder whether they’ll sell special edition Olympic watch bands (sport loop this time round?) at the store like they did with the country-themed woven nylon band during the summer Olympics in Rio.

All things considered that would be a smart move by Apple as you can best believe Samsung will be doing his with their galaxy s8/9 as well as their true wireless headphones.

Apple could emblazon the iPhone 8/X’s glass back with a special rings logo just for sale in South Korea for the Winter Olympics. That would really show some love to S Korea and I can bet citizens there would show their love right back with their dollars and other product sales. It would certainly catch Samsung’s marketing and sales completely off guard as well as a kick in any S9 potential sales if not throw a cog in those sales.

Apple: Competing with Samsung for over a decade, opens first Korean retail store tomorrow.



macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2017
Can't beileve 499 stores had to be opened before opening one in the country of their most important competitor.


macrumors newbie
Jun 26, 2017
This is a great customer support tool for the region. even if they dont have huge sales, it will be busy with tourists looking for apple care support. People break their phones when on vacation and knowing your destination has a support team nearby is a great feeling.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2012
You could partially blame Samsung and other Korean manufactures for that. They've been in cahoots with the government over keeping Apple at bay for as long as possible.

No. You can't. Frisbee stores (which look exactly like Apple stores even down to the tables and uniforms) have been operating in all the major shopping malls and districts in Seoul for years.

Apple had very little penetration into the Korean market because LG and Samsung offer better deals and packages specific to Koreans.

For example, LG is a mobile carrier in Korea with the LGU+ network, and Apple's phones do not work on that network at all. Samsung built Bixby specifically for Koreans in their own language. S-Pay was built to work with existing payment terminals in Korea (most of which don't use NFC, but still Magnetic Strip) and their phones have tighter integration with apps from Naver and Daum/Kakao - which is essential for things like Maps.

Apple have had a presence in Korea since the iPhone 3G was released with Frisbee. They just weren't that popular and a lot of Korean apps didn't bother to make iPhone versions.

Only now does Apple have enough market penetration in Korea to open one store in an an affluent area of Seoul.


macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2009
반가워요! 저도 반갑습니다.

Finally! I guess I can stop going over to Japan to get my AppleCare+ fix.
I'll be going to the store on the opening day. Should be fun.

Anyways. lots of inaccuracies from some of the posts here, especially from wikiverse. Let me clear them up.

One Olympic Games had been held in the country before - 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics being held next month will not have a venue in Seoul. Pyeongchang is a city about 130km east of Seoul known for ski resorts, among other things.

Samsung has been the dominant player in the cellphone business in Korea for the past two decades and Apple's entrance to the market has not changed this. However, Apple has have held a fairly stable 2nd to 3rd place ever since its entrance to the market more than 8 years ago. It's been going back and forth with another domestic company, LG, carving out around 10 to 20% of the market share. When new iPhone models arrive it's not hard to see it briefly surge past 30%. This is in spite of the fact that iPhones get very little discount compared to other phones and are not favoured by the phone shops. Luxury brand positioning at work, perhaps?

It's been confirmed that in the early days the government (and by extension, domestic competitors) has had some hand in deterring Apple's penetration into the Korean market. But nowadays Apple's own indifference to the market and the stiffness in negotiating with domestic content partners are playing a larger role, in my view. Hopefully, this will change a bit with this new store.

Anyways, due to having a double-digit market share, most Korean companies have opted to support both Android and iOS from very early on. I won't deny that Android versions do get a more favourable treatment mostly due to having less restrictions and having bigger market share, but it's not like iOS scene is ignored or anything.

Most of the payment terminals in the country actually do support chip-based & NFC payment along with the existing magnetic readers because most of the terminals have been updated due to a mandate. When I pay for stuff, the chances are 50-50 on which one the cashier would use, in my experience. The proliferation of S-Pay due to Samsung's dominance has led to getting the older reader technology a workout, but if Apple Pay were to arrive, most of the terminals should be ready.

All three major carriers, SKT, KT, and LGU+ are compatible with iPhones. KT was the first carrier to support and launch iPhone in Korea back in 2009, with iPhone 3GS. iPhone 3G would technically work with the carrier, but was not released to the market as it was already an older model at the time. SKT joined the club in early 2011 starting with iPhone 4, although unofficial iPhone support had been present for about a year before that. LGU+ has started supporting iPhone 6 and later models since 2014, thanks to the VoLTE function.
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Rochy Bay

Apr 5, 2016
Cupertino, CA
Hopefully they are ready with a lot of geniuses for all the issues people are having with IOS and OS X.
I'm sure a lot of support will be needed during that game.


macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2009
What is that Hangul logo saying?
“Nice to meet you” (반가워요, ban-gawoyo)

Edit: To elaborate a bit, the way it's written, "바ㄴ가워요", is technically a bit broken as it should be "반" instead of "바ㄴ" for the first letter, but I think it's just a bit of typographical liberty at play. I would have expected "반갑습니다" (ban-gapseumnida), which is a more formal way of saying it. The one used by Apple is has a more informal, friendly tone. I'm not sure why Apple is trying to be so friendly all of a sudden after sort-of neglecting the customers for so long, but oh well.
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