Apple is set to announce an official ‘accredited distributor’ in Vietnam.
The distributor has been identified by Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre newspaper as FPT, a Vietnamese telco with a chain of retail stores already selling Apple products.
Apple phones and computers are widely available in Vietnam, through grey importers and authorised partners. A thriving business is based on importing Apple products bought overseas from a variety of sources and imported in personal baggage. Airline crew are frequent couriers of such goods.
Affluent Vietnamese are already buying grey import iPhone 6s at prices as much as double the recommended retail price in nearby markets such as Bangkok and Singapore – largely due to the status symbol.
According to Tuoi Tre, Apple is to hold a media event on November 14 when it will announce its “official presence” in Vietnam, having appointed FPT as its “accredited distributor”.
The retail unit of FPT, a Vietnamese teleco, operates more than 70 stores under the FPT and F.Studio banners. It may have secured the rights to open international format Apple stores, given Apple itself cannot legally operate its own stores without a local partner.
From November 14, other retailers wanting to stock and promote the iPhone will have to source the product from FPT Retail.
The Vietnam office of International Data Corp estimates sales of Apple smartphones will rise 56 per cent to 12 million units in 2014.
Mobile network operators Viettel and Vinaphone say they will officially sell the new iPhone 6 from November 14.