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I just got back from a short trip to Yongsan with Dan Gillmor. Yongsan is one of two electronics districts in Seoul. One of the larger buildings full of shops was closed for some reason and there weren't very many shoppers around. This made walking around easier, but probably didn't give us the full effect. In Tokyo, we have an electronics district called Akihabara which many people compare Yongsan to. There were more similarities than I expected, but some differences. I found in Yongsan, and Seoul in general, places are more spacious than the equivalent areas in Japan. Shops generally seemed cleaner and the districts a bit better organized than in Akihabara. Speaking of smells, many of the smells oddly familiar from Tokyo, although there were some different ones. One thing which contributed to the difference in smells was that there were food markets such as fresh vegetables and grilled meats interspersed in the market, which Akihabara doesn't have.

Dan was prowling for cheap memory, but either because we didn't bargain, or because we didn't know where to look, we didn't find any.

It was a lot of fun, but it would probably have been more fruitful with a seasoned guide. I would say that overall, there were maybe more shops than Akihabara, but a bit less diversity. (We didn't see a single Macintosh.) Having said that, I'm not sure we were able to explore the whole thing so my view may not be accurate.

14 Comments

I haven't seen someting like that here in Germany. I wish there was. What reminds me of that are computer markets often held in larger exhibition halls. But it's obviously not the same. Also a place like Yongsan or Akihabara probably wouldn't be so successful in Germany because I guess people in Japan, Korea or the US do more like tech toys then most people do here.

Well, I should've told you that Monday is a major day off there... Because it *is* Korea, there are always a few shops open. There is one Apple Centre (which has two shops) in the big white building, on the 3rd floor (三階 that is, 2nd floor to many of us), I bought more Macs from them than I can remember; and another shop dealing Macs and related in the bus terminal where the subway station is located.

In that large white building you can get all the RAM you want, and even buy it bulk in the basement there: if I remember there is an LG subsidiary selling RAM and other chips by the cartload [usually to the shops upstairs].

dda shows that it's always useful to have a guide.

I wonder if this will spread accross the world? As i have never seen such a thing anywhere near where i live..

I went there once. The thing that struck me was that perhaps 50% of the products displayed were knockoffs of major Japanese brands. Maybe things have changed since then.

I saw a few macs when I just wondering around there sans guide. What I notice were the dreambooks which are specially built limited edition laptops that are blinged out like low-riders. One has fucking flashing blue lights on the bottom of it etc. Anyway, is it just me or are laptops actually more expensive in korea? they wanted 500,000 wong for a used p3 LG laptop last time I was there while p4 laptops are like sub-500 on ebay and craig's list these days.

peace,
a

Oops... you should have told me that you had a plan to go to Yongsan. Definitely I could guide you, and it was my pleasure...

hmmm the price depends although on the person [ethnicity, bargaining skills, return customer or not, etc...]. Shops who know me, I usually go alone (of course, it helps that I speak the language as a native). Other shops, I usually take the Missus with me, as she is the fiercest bargainer on Earth. I remember the face of the owner of a digital camera shop when he saw my wife the second we went there... Crestfallen is the word I think :-)

Local products are not always cheap. Interestingly enough, Korean products are often cheaper abroad than home [influence of a captive market vs fierce competition...]. There used to be a lot of knock-offs, there are some, still, but there's a lot of new products. Korea's changing, slowly.

Besides, there are places there where you can buy real Japanese products at a price that'd make Akihabara shop owners balk. Pretty much under the counter (aka Direct Imports®), but worth it...

I had gone there last friday with my friend.But we had short time for seeing Yonsan. I bought 2 DVD that Japanese Animation,"KURENAI NO BUTA" by Hayao Miyazaki and "INOCENCE(Ghost in the Shell 2)"by Mamoru Oshii =)

I think Yongsan is some like Akihabara TOKYO that my favorite city =)Yongsan is wider than Akihabara,but I regreted in Yongsan similar shops that are selling same articles :-P

Ito-san,have a nice trip and please take care(^-^)/

ringo134 wrote @9:
I bought 2 DVD that Japanese Animation, "KURENAI NO BUTA" by Hayao Miyazaki and "INOCENCE (Ghost in the Shell 2)" by Mamoru Oshii =)
How much did you pay for these DVDs ? *cough*

>How much did you pay for these DVDs ?
There are about 5000W(Korean money),
but i cant see full movie,near finish movie was broken ;-P

ringo134 wrote @11:
i cant see full movie,near finish movie was broken ;-P
I should probably enter into a virulent diatribe here, arguing how the Koreans in Yongsan are despicable creatures without a shred of human decency, hawking bootleg anime DVDs that do not even fulfil basic expectations of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, to say nothing about their casual violation of Japanese IP rights ;-)
The Japanese people in Akihabara selling fan-subbed pirate DVDs of popular Korean TV series at least have the decency to exercise some quality control on the media they sell...

MostlyVowels: wait until you see the hawkers and their "goods" in the back streets behing Le Loi, in Saigon :-)

Hi Joi,

we are doing a lot of TrendTours around the world with our customers. We are working for global Companies and take their marketing managers on a TrendTour.

We've done TrendTours in Japan (Tokyo), New York, London, Paris etc... and also Korea - Seoul. We always work with local experts to show our customers around - especially in markets like these you'll need somebody to show you the highlights.

E.g. we visit hot companies, startups, innovative stores or innovation labs.

So next time - just send me a notice : monty@cscout.com

Best,
Monty

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