iPhone 6s preorders heat up Korean market

Apple Inc.’s two new smartphones stirred a fresh craze among South Korean consumers on Monday as preorders sold out in the first few minutes of opening on the back of strong demand from Apple loyalists.

South Korea’s three mobile carriers — SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Inc. — received preorders for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus earlier in the day ahead of the official launch in the domestic market on Friday.

Presales had been scheduled for last week, but came belatedly amid speculation that telecom authorities had advised the mobile carriers to delay them to avoid overheating in the market.

KT said preorders surpassed 10,000 within the first one minute after it opened the online site, and it closed the applications less than 10 minutes later as the first 50,000 units set aside for preorders were all sold out.

KT began its second round of online purchase reservations from 10:30 a.m., the company said, adding that it’s also selling them at offline stores.

“We’re getting an amazing response. We expected to take at least 30 minutes to sell the first 50,000. There was notably a huge demand for the rose gold,” an official at KT said.

SK Telecom also ended its online preorder applications after 30 minutes, it said, declining to give the exact figure of handsets sold early. Market watchers predict it to be around 50,000 units.

LG Uplus was no different from its two bigger rivals, with preorders ending in the first five minutes.

Ahead of the release, Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. both cut down the prices of their latest flagship smartphones, a move seen to keep their edge against the new iPhones.

The price of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 was slashed to 799,700 won ($706) from the previous 924,000 won. That of LG’s new V10 came in at 799,700 won from the start of the launch.

It is rare for a South Korean tech giant to release a flagship model with an initial local price of below 800,000 won.

“Loyal customers who waited for the new iPhones appear to have made quick moves. Now we should see whether this demand will continue for the rest of the week,” an industry watcher said. (Yonhap)


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