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Amazon poised for Fire tablet launch in Korea next year

Domestic cheap tablet market could be hit; Samsung to unveil new low-end model soon

By Nov 15, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Amazon's Fire HD 10 (Courtesy of Amazon)
Amazon's Fire HD 10 (Courtesy of Amazon)

Amazon, the world’s largest online shopping mall, is set to release its own Fire tablets in South Korea from as early as next year, penetrating the local market currently ruled by tech giants Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Services LLC. has recently received a certification of conformity assessment for the Fire tablet PC by the National Radio Research Agency, according to domestic information technology (IT) industry sources on Nov. 15. A company needs this certificate to sell broadcasting and communication equipment in South Korea.

“Amazon’s US headquarters obtaining this certificate means they will actually launch it in Korea,” said an industry official, although Amazon declined to comment.

The Fire tablets are the fourth-bestselling tablets in the world with a market share of about 8%, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics. Amazon has been attracting users with cheap prices.

The latest and highest-end Fire HD 10 is priced at just around $150. Its specifications such as storage capacity are weaker than others and users can only use the devices with Amazon's own operating system (OS) and applications. But Amazon’s tablets are specialized for watching videos such as over-the-top (OTT) services with decent displays. The Fire HD 10, for example, is equipped with a 10.1-inch Full HD display with a resolution of 1920X1200 pixels that allows users to enjoy Netflix’s HD programs.


The Fire’s entry into South Korea is expected to bite into the local low-cost tablet market, according to industry sources. Samsung, the world’s No. 2 tablet maker, is targeting the country with a wide range of products from the cheap Galaxy Tab A7 Lite, which is priced at around 200,000 won ($169.6), to the premium Galaxy Tab S7+, priced at around 1.2 million won. Samsung is known to be unveiling the Galaxy Tab A8, a new cheap tablet, in the near term.

South Koreans have been buying the Fire tablets through foreign online shopping malls or overseas sellers, paying hefty shipping costs. One website charged 50,000 won for the shipping of a Fire HD 10 priced at 170,000 won, for example. Amazon’s launch of the Fire tablets in South Korea is expected to cut the purchasing costs for local consumers.

The Fire series are likely to be sold via the Amazon Global Store on SK Telecom Co.'s e-commerce platform 11Street Co. Amazon and 11Street teamed up in August to offer the US company’s shopping service in Korean for customers in the country, but so far they have not offered any of Amazon’s own products.

11Street was known to be in talks with Amazon to sell its private brand goods, but the South Korean e-commerce platform declined to comment on the launch of the Fire tablets in the country.

Global tablet makers aim to expand their presence in South Korea where demand has been increasing.

Apple released the ninth-generation iPad and the iPad Mini 6 in Korea earlier this month. China’s Lenovo Group Ltd. and Xiaomi Corp. brought in their tablets in May and in September, respectively. Domestic tablet shipments were expected to grow 3.8% to about 4 million this year after a 52.8% surge in 2020, according to market research firm International Data Corp.’s (IDC) South Korean unit.

Write to Sung-Soo Bae at

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.

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