The last time Apple sought to release its first iPad in Korea, the company was forced to wait nine months until the domestic competitors could shore up their positions. Protectionism? Yes, but what can you do? With the iPad 2 coming this Friday the Korean consumer had to wait only a mere 2 months to get their hands on Apple’s coolest new toy.
The delay this time was Apple’s fault with the company citing “unexpected manufacturing challenges” and an inability to keep up with roaring global demand. Apple sold just under 5 million iPad 2’s during the March Quarter. This was a million short of estimates as transitioning to the new model and tangles with the Japanese supply chain triggered a shortage of critical components.
KT, which first introduced the iPhone in South Korea in 2009, was the sole carrier of the first iPad and iPhone 3 & 4. The company faces stiff competition from larger rival SK Telecom which began selling the iPhone 4 last month and will also have dibs on iPad 2 sales.
More competition will bode well for consumers looking for better prices once the initial excitement settles.
Samsung, which produces the Galaxy Tab can’t be too happy with the release of Apple’s new tablet computer here on the peninsula. Lagging sales of the Galaxy Tab, coupled with aggressive pricing plans by Apple is forcing Samsung to play catch up with its American competitor.
DJ Lee, head of Samsung Mobile sales and marketing, shows off the Galaxy Tab last September
Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities Co. sees this as an ongoing trend. "Samsung sold 1.5 million Galaxy Tab computers to mobile carriers in the fourth quarter (of 2010), but sales to consumers didn't live up to expectations, leaving stockpiles of the product," said Lee. "Galaxy Tab sales in the first quarter were lower-than-expected and its price was cut, which squeezed the margin."