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Apple Korea employs 500 but says it created 300,000 jobs

Aug 20,2019
Apple Korea claimed Monday that it has created more than 300,000 jobs in Korea over the past 20 years. In a post on its website, it also revealed for the first time some of the Korean suppliers it has been partnering with.

While the company has released information on how many jobs it calculates that it has created in the United States, Europe, Japan and China for years, Monday’s post marks the first time the U.S. tech giant has disclosed its numbers for Korea.

The Korean unit of the American multinational technology company said it created a total of 325,000 jobs in Korea as of last year and helped local app developers make more than 4.7 trillion won ($3.9 billion) through its App Store.

Looking into the numbers, Apple Korea only actually employed 500 people in Korea as of June this year. The company claims that it has contributed to creating 125,000 jobs at its Korean suppliers and 200,000 through the so-called app economy.

According to the Korean subsidiary, it is partnering with some 200 companies across the country and also helped app developers and start-ups earn profits through its App Store, which opened in 2008.

The sudden disclosure is seen as an attempt by Apple Korea to show the public its contributions to the country, according to industry insiders.

“With Apple realizing the growing importance of the Korean market, it uploaded the message to more actively communicate with local consumers and spread the word about its activities in Korea,” an industry source said.

There has been criticism that Apple is investing too little in Korea compared to its earnings in the local market. Even after the figures were unveiled, some customers posted online comments saying the calculation method is questionable due to the disparity between employed workers and created jobs.

Apple Korea explained that Analysis Group calculated the company’s influence on the Korean economy by using its investments into products and service in 2018.

Apart from opening up the number of jobs it created, it also unveiled the names of its Korean partners, including steelmaker Posco, metal processing company Poongsan Corporation and camera module testing company HyVision System.

According to Apple Korea, Posco has been supplying non-magnetic, ultra-clean stainless steel to Apple since its iPhone X launched in 2017.

The steelmaker now supplies more than half of the steel for the iPhone X models sold worldwide. Posco is reportedly in talks with Apple Korea to supply steel for future iPhones.

“In the steel industry, the recycling rate for scrap metal is usually 40 percent, but Apple demanded more than 75 percent,” said Heo Jung-in, who led the team. “It was challenging to ensure the quality and environment-friendliness at the same time, but synergy was created as the project fit what Posco was gearing toward.”

BY KO JUN-TAE, LEE SO-A [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]