Apple South Korea Plans 20-Fold Increase in iPod Market Share

Appleis iPod dominates the market for digital music players in the US, Japan, and Europe. In Korea, however, the companyis current goal is become the #3 player. According to a story in the Korea Times, Apple Korea CEO Sohn Hyung-man told reporters at a press event to launch the iPod Photo and iPod U2 Special Edition that Apple wants to increase the iPodis market share by 20-fold in South Korea.

"Although Appleis iPod controls 52 percent of the global market and 65 percent of the US market, 97 percent of the Korean market is dominated by the flash-memory-type MP3 players, which Apple does not produce," the newspaper quoted Mr. Hyung-man as having said. "We plan to increase our market share in Korea by 20-fold through aggressive marketing campaigns."

As Mr. Hyung-man notes, Apple does not offer a flash-based music player, but rumors and analyst prognostications about Apple releasing a flash-based player have persisted during recent months. Most notably, Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich has repeatedly told his investment clients that Apple was working on such a device. Jason Pflaum of investment firm Thomas Weisel has told his clients the same thing.

The Korea Times also noted that iRiver is currently the #1 seller in South Korean, with Korean manufacturing giant Samsung taking the #2 spot.

On a related note, BusinessWeek has published an in-depth story on Samsungis efforts to remake itself into a design-oriented company, and comparisons to Apple are made at the end of that story.