South Korea has become the latest country to open up to sales of the Apple (AAPL) iPhone. According to The Wall Street Journal, The Korea Communications Commission has approved the sale of the handset.
The new deal may not seem like much until analysts take into account that fact that the Asian nation has a population of 50 million. Most of these people in large cities which means that access to 3G service is very high.
South Korea also has one of the largest penetrations of broadband of any country in the world. PC and handheld devices are used extensively there, much more than in the US, Europe, and China. The market is ready made for rapid adoption of a popular device like the iPhone.
The move into South Korea is the latest one by Apple which only recently struck deals to sell the iPhone in China. A device which has made its success primarily by selling phones in the US will soon be available to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
The iPhone is already a meaningful part of Apple’s earnings, but, with its international distribution, it could surpass the revenue brought in by the Mac and iPod fairly quickly. Apple needed a new and successful product to replace its two old lines of business. It appears that it has one.
Douglas A. McIntyre