Apple has started construction of its first official Korean store in Seoul, according to the industry sources Sunday.
As the first Apple Store in Korea is likely to open next year, anticipation is high that it will lead to an improvement in Apple’s after-sales services which have long disappointed customers here.
According to industry sources, Apple leased some 550 square meters of land in Garosu-gil in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, for 4.8 billion won on March 1 for the next 20 years. Later on Oct. 21, Apple completed the design for the new building and started construction.
The building is currently in the framework construction stage and is expected to be completed by November next year, sources said.
Though Apple Korea did not confirm details of the building under construction, rumors are that it will be a three-story building covered with a glass exterior.
Apple is working with French construction firm D.P.J. & Partners, Korean builder EAN R&C and British architecture studio Foster + Partners for its first official store, according to the sources. D.P.J. & Partners previously teamed up with EAN R&C to build the embassy building of Oman in central Seoul while Foster + Partners designed the new building of Apple headquarters.
Though Apple has been estimated to generate over $2.6 billion in sales here, it did not have an official Apple Store in Korea. Instead, the U.S. enterprise has distributed its products through authorized resellers such as Frisbee.
Another expectation is that Apple may release new mobile devices earlier in Korea than before. For iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus phones, the company rolled out the new handsets in Japan, where it is running eight Apple Stores, on Sept. 16 as the first launching destination. On the other hand, it released the new handsets in Korea at the end of October as the fifth destination.