The rivalry between Apple and Samsung may be about to intensify: the WSJ reports that the iPhone maker is considering opening up an Apple Store very close to Samsung’s HQ in Seoul, South Korea. Perhaps very close indeed!

Apple looked at sites across the street from the Samsung ’s longtime headquarters in Seoul, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move could be a very smart one for Apple …

South Korea has a lot of untapped potential for iPhone sales, both because it’s a large market and because Apple has so far made limited headway in the country.

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, has long been a tough market for Apple. Smartphone sales are dominated by hometown favorites Samsung and LG Electronics, who together account for about 80% of the smartphone market in the country.

The company currently relies on third-party retailers, so a glitzy Apple Store could well have a significant impact.

The company is said to be focusing its location search in the upmarket Gangnam area, home to the city’s busiest subway station as well as Samsung’s headquarters, but also exploring a possible site on the fashionable Garosu-gil shopping street.

As you’d expect, an Apple spokesman has neither confirmed nor denied the report.

We have made no announcements about a store there.

The news is unlikely to make Samsung very happy, coming in the middle of a 2.5M-handset recall of its exploding Galaxy Note 7, but sources suggest that it is likely to take Apple around a year to open a store in the city.

Apple is preparing to open its first Mexico store as it introduces new positions as part of a retail shake-up.

Seoul photo: Kilroy

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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