Apple iPhones are sizzling hot in South Korea as the country’s three major mobile carriers announced that they sold out all pre orders less than 10 minutes after they were made available online at 9 a.m. Monday morning.
This after a recent report by Yonhap news that presales were originally scheduled for an earlier release, but were discouraged by telecom authorities who advised mobile carriers to delay sales of the news iPhone to avoid overheating in the market.
SK Telecom, Korea’s largest carrier, sold out of the first batch in just seven minutes and the second in half an hour, according to an SK spokesman –who refused to disclose the exact number of phones sold.
The seven-minute record by SK Telecom is the fastest for any iPhone model, breaking the previous record of nine minutes by the iPhone 6 followed by its predecessor the 5s, which sold out in 10 minutes back in October 2013.
While SK refused to give exact numbers sold on Monday, KT Telecom announced their numbers to the press.
KT, which was the first company to bring the iPhone to Korea in 2009, said the first batch of 10,000 phones sold out in just two seconds. The rest were sold in 10 minutes.
“We’re getting an amazing response,” an official at KT said. “We expected to take at least 30 minutes to sell the first 50,000. There was notably a huge demand for the rose gold.”
SK Telecom took a cautious approach to actual sales, telling the Joongang Daily newspaper that traditionally only one-fifth of those who place pre orders actually purchase the phones.
Samsung and LG slash prices
According to Counterpoint Technology Market Research, iPhones accounted for 14 percent of the Korean smartphone sales in July –that’s three times larger than a year earlier.
Samsung held a dominant 59 percent of the market, a similar level to a year earlier, but largely due to its taking sales from an ailing LG Electronics and Pantech.
Both Samsung and LG heavily cut the prices of their latest flagship smartphones ahead of the Apple release, hoping to build resistance against Koreans flocking to the new iPhones.
The price of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 was slashed down to 799,700 won ($706) from the previous 924,000 won, while LG’s V10 was launched at 799,700 won.
“It is rare for a South Korean tech giant to release a flagship model with an initial local price of below 800,000 won,” according to Yonhap.
Koreans have generally paid higher prices for Korean-made products than most other markets worldwide –even those made at home. With FTAs and other trade deals opening Korean markets to foreign competition, that trend is reversing in favor of the Korean consumer.
Korea is usually one of the last countries in the world to receive the latest iPhone models.