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Apple Sets Its Sights On Vietnam

After basically ignoring the Vietnamese market for years, Apple is stepping up its game in the brand-obsessed country, partnering with FPT to distribute its products, reports Bloomberg.

Even as Apple watches its global market share for smartphones and tablets decrease (down 3% and 17% from 2012 – 2013, respectively), the company’s growth in Vietnam jumped by 262% in Apple’s fiscal first half which ended March 29, said Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook on April 23.

While there are cheaper options on the market, many Vietnamese view Apple products as a status symbol and are willing to shell out their hard-earned dong for the devices.

Bloomberg interviewed Hanoi resident Bich Ngoc who earns less than $60 a week and has a newborn child. Ngoc, an accountant, spent 4 months salary on the latest iPhone to impress he colleagues:

“I like the iPhone because it is small, light and very delicate…Everyone seems a bit jealous.”

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But don’t expect to see any Apple stores popping up in Saigon and Hanoi anytime soon.

Vietnamese telecom giant, FPT, has been tapped by Apple as Vietnam’s authorized “premium” reseller, selling the much of the company’s product line in minimalist F.Studio stores (of which there are 3 in Saigon and 2 in Hanoi) with a staff trained by Apple representatives.  

These stores seem to be trustworthy points of sale for locals who are wary about buying expensive devices from traditional phone shops.

“Here I can trust the quality and get support from the staff…I would not dare to spend this much money on an iPhone from another store,” said Vuong Ha, a customer at a F.Studio store in Hanoi.

As Vietnam’s middle class continues to grow, it doesn’t look like sales of Apple products will slow down anytime soon.

[Bloomberg // Photo via Dzung Viet Le]

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