What is up with Korea?

Although the country’s own Samsung and LG are electronics giants and dominate both domestic and — especially in Samsung’s case — foreign markets for electronics including smartphones and tablets, the Korean public appears to prefer a foreign company’s goods.

That company, of course, is Samsung’s top rival, Apple.

Just a day after Korean consumers said that iPhone has better quality than Samsung’s Galaxy lines of phones, Apple’s iPad reached the top spot in Korea’s 2013 National Customer Satisfaction Index, an official report initiated and maintained with support from the nation’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the CS Korea Productivity Center.

For the last two years, the iPad had been tied for first with a Samsung Galaxy tablet. This year, the iPad broke out in front alone for the first time ever.

thirst-news-app-ipadAccording to the report, the iPad — and especially the iPad Mini — demonstrated “app maturity,” high product quality, an excellent touch user experience, and more. “App maturity” would seem to refer to the massive number of apps specifically designed for tablet, one place where Apple holds a significant advantage over Android-based devices. At Apple’s recent WWDC conference, the company announced that 375,000 of the app store’s 900,000 apps were designed for the iPad.

“The wide variety of apps exclusively catering to iPad users as well as the superior quality and smooth operability of iPads account for Apple’s success with this year’s NCSI Survey,” Korean website BetaNews said.

The consumer reports haven’t necessarily translated into huge sales for Apple in Korea yet — iPhone sales are down to single digits in Korea. But good news for Apple from organizations that would apparently have every reason to be biased against the California company must be encouraging for Cupertino. And it’s important for Apple to do well in Korea — with Japan, Korea accounts for the majority of tablet sales in Asia.

Now if Apple can just get that cheaper iPhone into production and into the market, market share in Korea — and China — might see some significant increases.