iPhone Hits South Korea


South Koreans will finally be able to purchase Apple's iPhone later this month, in a move that further expands Apple's iPhone presence in Asian markets.

South Korea has been lagging neighboring Asian markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, China and Japan, in offering the sleek Apple device. The iPhone is available in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Stores have started taking orders for the device, and service, provided by telecom carrier KT Corp., will start Nov. 28., according to published reports. SK Telecom, the nation's largest carrier, was also in talks with Apple about providing service for the iPhone, but no decision has been reached as yet.

Currently, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, both homegrown concerns, manufacture the most popular phones in South Korea. South Korean customers typically prefer buying from local companies, so Apple may have a challenge -- at least initially -- establishing the iPhone in the market.

Regulatory red tape plagued the iPhone's debut in South Korea. Last week, the final hurdle was cleared when the Korea Communications Commission OK'd the granting of a business license to Apple to offer "location-based" features. Those services include functions such as maps and direction finders. Manufacturers of devices offering such apps must, by law, obtain government permission to do so.