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Apple is reportedly examining several possible retail sites in Seoul, South Korea, hoping to establish its first official outlet in the country.
Apple has examined real estate near Samsung's headquarters and flagship store in Gangnam, as well as a site along the city's Garosu-gil shopping street, sources told the Wall Street Journal. Plans have not been finalized, and an opening could still take a year, the people added. Currently, Apple relies on third-party retailers to sell its products offline in Korea.
The country's smartphone market is currently dominated by Samsung and LG, which together share 80 percent. Apple did manage to take a quarter of the market with the 2014 release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but fell below 10 percent in the second quarter of 2016.
A new retail location in the region might mean Apple is ready to fight for a larger share on Samsung's home turf. In the short term, one analyst from South Korea recently suggested that Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 recall could help Apple complete over 100 million sales of the iPhone 7 before the end of the year.
Apple also recently launched Apple Music in Korea, which could boost the appeal of the company's product ecosystem.