Publications / Policy Memo

Korea’s App Economy

By / 5.15.2018

Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in 2007 initiated a profound and transformative new economic innovation. While central bankers and national leaders struggled with a deep financial crisis and stagnation, the fervent demand for iPhones – and the wave of smartphones that followed – was a rare force for growth.

Today, there are five billion mobile broadband subscriptions globally, an unprecedented rate of adoption for a new technology. Use of mobile data is rising at 65 percent per year, a stunning number that shows its revolutionary impact.

The smartphone era helped power Korea’s economic growth over the past decade. Samsung announced its first Android phone in April 2009, eventually becoming the largest smartphone maker globally measured by volume. But the smartphone was about more than hardware. Apple’s opening of the App Store in 2008, followed by Android Market (now Google Play) and other app stores, created a way for iOS and Android developers to write mobile applications that could run on smartphones anywhere.

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