Apple Inc.'s new smartwatch is gaining popularity in South Korea with local customers purchasing the devices directly from overseas even before its official debut here slated for later this month, data showed Sunday.
The number of foreign direct purchases of the Apple Watch Sport came to 181 in the May 26-June 12 period, according to the data compiled by the Korea Customs Service.
The device is scheduled to be released here on June 26.
Overseas direct shopping, or "jikgu" in Korean, refers to shopping through overseas online retail channels and market places, such as Amazon.com.
The purchase of Apple's wearables here came amid the U.S. handset maker's overall success around the globe, which is threatening to nudge out South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. in the smartwatch sector. Apple Watch was reportedly sold out in just six hours during its initial pre-order period.
According to market tracker Strategy Analytics, sales volume of the Apple Watch is forecast to reach 15.4 million in 2015, allowing the U.S. player to take up 55 percent of the global market. Samsung had stood as the top player in the segment with 71.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014.
Samsung is planning to release another smartwatch following its Galaxy Gear devices, although details on specifications and launch schedules have yet to be announced. (Yonhap)