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Koreans most inclined to buy smartphones

Koreans are the most eager among global consumers to purchase a smartphone, Nielsen, a global information research firm, said on Wednesday.

Half of South Korean consumers without the smart device responded in a survey by Nielsen that they would purchase a smartphone in the future.

The figure was the highest among global consumers also surveyed by Nielsen, the company said.

About one-fifth of the 50 million South Korean population was recently tallied to be using a smartphone.

The Nielsen study drew a sharp contrast with consumers in neighboring Japan.

Only one out of 10 respondents said they would buy a smartphone, while more than half said they have no such plans.

South Korean and Japanese consumers also held different opinions on the use of smartphones, the Nielsen survey showed.

More than 40 percent of South Korean consumers said they would use smartphones if they can make payments at shops or restaurants via their phones, but only 5 percent of Japanese consumers answered positively.

Further, almost 90 percent of South Koreans said they use mobile phones to make phone calls, while more than two-thirds of the Japanese consumers said they use land lines.

“South Koreans were interested in phone applications, but Japanese consumers considered their phones as more or less of an accessory,” said Cindy Shin, managing director of Nielsen Japan and Korea.

Cultural differences accounted for the consumer preference, Shin said, noting that Japanese people relied mostly on emails for contact and preferred cash to split the bill.

Currently, seven out of 10 handsets sold here are smartphones, Nielsen said.

By Kim Ji-hyun  (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)
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