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The controversial Note 10 is a hit in Korea
The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus are (pre-)selling like hot cakes in South Korea.
Since preorders for Samsung’s new superphone opened August 9, Korean customers have snapped up over 1.3 million units, the manufacturer announced today (via Korea Herald). That’s double the Note 9’s preorder volume and a new record.
Despite its high price, the Note 10 Plus was the most popular option with Korean customers. The phone, which retails from 1.5 million won (~$1,250) locally, accounted for two thirds of pre-orders. The striking multi-colored Aura Glow was the most popular colorway, according to Samsung.
Samsung’s flagships have always dominated its home market, but the Note 10 series’ strong showing is still notable. For one, these are some of the most expensive phones in the world. Missing features, like the headphone jack and the microSD card slot (on the Note 10), have generated intense debate online, with some questioning the Note 10’s status as the phone for power users. The controversy doesn’t seem to have affected Korean consumer interest in the slightest.
However, Samsung can’t celebrate just yet. The strong debut in Korea may not necessarily translate to record-breaking sales around the world. South Korea is a peculiar market that’s effectively owned by Samsung, and this year, the 5G rollout gave the Note 10 a big boost. The country’s top carriers have all launched 5G services, and the market already boasts over 2 million 5G subscribers. As per ETNews, Korean carriers have pushed the Note 10 heavily, as one of the few phones that already support 5G. Worldwide, the adoption of 5G services is much slower, and Samsung can’t count on similar positive effects.
Samsung can’t celebrate just yet.
Furthermore, an industry source cited by ETNews warned that some customers may cancel their pre-orders if they don’t receive the generous pre-order subsidies promised by some retailers. Phone subsidies are strictly regulated in South Korea, but that doesn’t stop some sellers from offering illegal discounts in order to lock customers into long-term plans.
Overall, it’s good news for Samsung, whose position as the world’s biggest phone maker seems safe. Meanwhile rivals like Huawei and Apple face headwinds that aren’t likely to abate anytime soon.