Smartphone user habits may change depending on where you are in the world, but one thing remains largely the same: the iPhone (and Apple brand) is a status symbol.
With that in mind, Apple is tapping FPT Corp., Vietnam’s biggest listed information and communication technology company, to help grow its market share across Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
As with China, developing markets such as Vietnam represent important potential hotbeds for Apple to target, and establishing a presence early is of the utmost importance. According to Lam Nguyen, Ho Chi Minh City-based country director at International Data Corp, Vietnamese smartphone sales will increase by around 56 percent to 12 million units in 2014 alone — and Apple should be in a position to get a large chunk of those sales.
“There are more and cheaper alternatives out there [than the iPhone],” Nguyen told Bloomberg in an interview. “This is about a relatively affordable status symbol. It’s fashion.”
In its second fiscal quarter this year, 26 percent of Apple’s sales came from the Asia Pacific region — with 20 percent alone coming from the greater China region. While Japan isn’t included in this figures, it represented a massive 9 percent of Apple’s sales.
Apple’s manufacturer Foxconn has some of its factories located in Vietnam, although it’s not known whether this includes any work on Apple products. Earlier this year Foxconn had to shut down its operations in Vietnam for several days as a result of anti-China protests regarding oil drilling.