The iPhone finally rolls out in South Korea
The South Korean government has imposed quite restrictive protective policy that prevents many international cell phone manufacturers from entering the domestic market. The above-mentioned measures, at least regarding the mobile market, contributed to the healthy growth that both Samsung and LG have enjoyed for quite some time, thanks to the secured customer base. And the Korean cell phone market is neither under-developed, nor small by any means, since 93% of the 48.6 mln. consumers own at least one cell phone.
The first step behind the iron wall was made by RIM, when the company managed to sign a contract with a local carrier and started selling their smartphones through SK Telecom, although it was never granted access to the retail outlets of the latter. KT Corp, the second largest carrier in Korea has been trying to iron out an agreement with Apple for quite some time now, but was prevented from finalizing it before getting green light from the Korean government, due to the fact that this would constitute a breach of the local legislation, that among the other things, disallows the use of GPS-based applications. It seems, however, that an exception in favour of Apple has been made.
Apple finally setting foot in Korea will probably have a positive effect on the domestic software market that is still a far cry from being mature and it seems quite a few developers expect to see it enjoy a Renaissance as the iPhone gains ground. We would think that Samsung and LG are far from being happy over the decision of their government however, so we are waiting for the next round.