It’s worth noting right off the bat that this is all still in the very early stages. Apple scouts plenty of locations for its stores, and plenty never come to fruition. But the fact that Cupertino is potentially looking to plant its flag in South Korea is pretty telling – not only because it’s a big market in which the company has no proprietary retail presence, but also the fact that we’re talking about Samsung’s home turf here.
In fact, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the company’s not looking at just any spot for its first Apple Store – it’s specifically been scouting spots within spitting distance of Samsung’s global flagship store in Seoul’s fancy Gangnam District, three stories devoted to all things Galaxy.
At present, Apple has nearly 500 retail stores spread across around 20 countries, including three-dozen in China. In spite of a lack of such retail presence, Apple’s numbers haven’t been middling, but not terrible in the country. While it doesn’t post specifics on shipments, third-party analytics groups have the company’s marketshare hovering between 25- and 10-percent of a market dominated by domestic players like Samsung, and to a lesser extent, LG.
Apple’s own numbers have been down toward the lower end of the scale of late, in the lead-up to the release of the iPhone 7. Though Samsung, too, has been dealing with volatility of its own recently, both of the figurative and literal variety.
The sources who first noted Apple’s interested added, naturally, that these things take time. Nothing’s on paper yet, and even if/when the company commits to an opening, such a move could still be a year out.