Apple's South Korean retail store puts it on Samsung's doorstep | Cult of Mac

Apple’s South Korean retail store puts it on Samsung’s doorstep

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The design of Apple's new store blurs the line between the inside and outside world.
Photo: Apple

Ahead of Apple’s first ever Apple Store opening South Korea, the company has shared pictures of its spectacular new Seoul store online.

Located on the south of the Han River, in the heart of the upmarket Gangnam district, the store boasts a 25-foot glass facade, stunning 6K video wall, and a tree-lined interior that is designed to blur the line between street and store. It opens this Saturday.

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An interior photo of Apple’s spectacular South Korea store.
Photo: Apple

“We’re thrilled to open a new home for our customers in the vibrant city of Seoul and we look forward to continuing to grow in Korea,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail, in a statement. “Our stores are gathering places for the community where everyone is welcome to connect, learn and create.”

According to Apple, the 140 employees at the South Korea store (called Apple Garosugil) speak a total of 15 languages collectively. The store will offer a number of “Today at Apple” classes, offering locals access to dozens of free sessions involving photography, music, art and design, coding skills and more.

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Apple’s new store is its first in South Korea, home of Samsung.
Photo: Apple

Apple Garosugil is set to open on Saturday at 10am local time.

Risks and rewards in South Korea

Apple’s new South Korea store puts the company’s retail stores firmly on Samsung’s home turf. That’s great for Apple in terms of growing its market share in South Korea, where there is enormous demand for its products. As we noted recently, the iPhone X experienced an enormous surge of orders when it was made available for pre-order, ahead of its November 24 launch. The allocated iPhone X shipments for the country sold out within minutes.

However, the move is unlikely to come without its challenges. The South Korean press can be heavily critical of Apple, and the government has previously been criticized for its “protectionist agenda” when it comes to looking after local companies over foreign interlopers. Authorities in South Korea raided Apple’s offices in Seoul, one day ahead of the launch of the iPhone X. The exact reason for the raid isn’t apparent, although it reportedly concerned Apple’s business practices in the country.

Most recently, Apple has also been the subject of a massive class action lawsuit from 370,000 individuals, based on the charges that Apple purposely slowed down older iPhones without telling customers. The group bringing the case against Apple is demanding 2.2 million won ($2,000) per person affected by the iPhone speed throttling.