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Yongsan Electronics Market, Asia’s largest IT shopping mall


Yongsan Electronics Market, Asia’s largest IT shopping mall
The Yongsan Electronics Market in midtown Seoul is a shopping paradise for computer geeks as well as IT novices. From computers, laptops, MP3 players, and digital cameras to camcorders, tablet PCs and all the IT gadgets, you name it, they’ve got it. This dense cluster of computer and high-tech gadget shops is a must-see stop during your tour of Korea, the world’s foremost IT superpower. Let’s visit the Yongsan Electronics Market to see the latest offerings of IT products.

Located near the Han River in Yongsan neighborhood, the Yongsan Electronics Market was formed in 1986 after a nearby agricultural and fisheries market moved to Garak-dong in southern Seoul and local electronics merchants moved their shops one by one into the neighborhood. Connected to Yongsan station, the megamall houses some six thousand stores in six different buildings on nearly 130 thousand square meters of land, making it the largest electronics shopping center in Asia. Reputation built over the past 26 years also turned the mall into a can’t-miss destination for tourists and IT shoppers alike.

- Hi, my name is Ray and I’m from Canberra, Australia. I heard about the Yongsan Electronics Market when I was still in Australia. I heard there was a huge IT shopping mall in Korea and got some basic information on the internet before I left home.
- Hi, I’m from Turkey. I’m in Korea on a business trip and made it a point to come to the Yongsan Electronics Market because I heard it was famous. I got some brochures and catalogues about it from a Korean trade agency in Istanbul. This market is well known for computers, digital cameras, and other electronic goods.

So the market’s reputation has reached overseas. Foreigners who have only heard about the mall are astounded by the sheer size of the market.

- My name is Jerry Grace and I’m from Texas, USA. I came here to shop for DVDs and games for my children. The brochures I got from the hotel had some information about the Yongsan Electronic Market. I’m very impressive by the market. There are so many things here I don’t know where I can find what I want.

The Yongsan Electronics Market boasts of having the widest selection of electronic goods from all over the world. Here’s Mr. Kim Jeong-hwan, president of the Yongsan Terminal Shopping Center Merchants’ Association.

There are wholesale and retail stores for computers and related paraphernalia, which makes one-stop shopping easy. Yongsan’s signature product is self-assembled computers, which users can make themselves by purchasing parts they need and can afford. You can buy top-of-the-line products here and even some audio and video devices not sold in department stores or electronic retailers, such as walkie-talkies and broadcasting equipment.

Shoppers can find just about anything they want, for the market has almost all brands and products from all over the globe. But a map is required to navigate all six buildings without getting lost and find what you want quickly, because each building deals in different categories of products. So what are you looking for today?

- I’m from New Caledonia. I’m vacationing in Korea for a week. I came to see the electronics market because I heard there were lots of different products here. I’m shopping for a mouse and some computer paraphernalia today.
- I’m looking for a tablet PC, a smart phone, and a new computer, but I haven’t found them yet. But this visit is a wonderful experience in itself.

If you have decided on what to buy, let’s find out where it is located. The Yongsan Electronics Market is accessible through Yongsan station of subway line number 1 and Shin-Yongsan station of subway line number four. The first building you see after getting off the subway is the Yongsan Terminal Shopping Center, which deals mainly in laptops.

Laptops are the most sought-after item for students getting ready for the new school year in March. Office workers look for simple laptops with basic document functions, whereas students prefer fancy multifunctional ones that can handle not only document-making, but also game-playing. So what do you think about your purchase?

- This one has great value for its money. It’s really a great buy.
- I came to get an affordable laptop. I’m going to China to study and need a small laptop. It’s nice that I got what I was looking for.

Across from the Yongsan Terminal Shopping Center stand the Najin Shopping Center and the Seonin Plaza. These buildings house personal computer and accessory stores. Since the stores offer a wide selection of computer-related parts, you can assemble a computer with the components of your choice right there in the store.

Once you select the parts you want, it only takes an hour or two to put together a computer. Only at the Yongsan Electronics Market can you get a computer with customized speed and capacity in such a short time.

- I’m looking for some computer parts to assemble a computer. My friends tell me that it’s cheaper to assemble it myself than to buy it. So I’m here looking for affordable parts. They’re really cheap here, definitely cheaper than in the U.S.

Affordable price is another main appeal of the Yongsan Electronics Market. It may take some legwork, but comparison shopping can reward you with up to 30% discount. Haggling for better bargain is all part of the fun at the Yongsan Electronics Market.

- I can compare prices and quality here. That’s why I recommend foreign residents here in Korea or tourists to visit Yongsan and spend about half a day comparing different products and their prices. I strongly recommend to foreigners to buy digital cameras or household appliances. They also might be surprised with an unexpected find.

Game devices and software can be found in the Najin Shopping Center. The hottest spot in this shopping center is the hands-on game experience zone where shoppers can play games for free.

Shoppers can find out about the latest game trends and get tips for buying game devices just by hanging around this place for a couple of hours. This is also the right place to look for outdated models that are no longer available in the retail market.

- I bought an older 80-gigabyte Playstation model. This place has more affordable products and a better selection than other stores. It’s hard to find older models, but Yongsan has them.
- I bought a great Playstation 3. I’ve been thinking about buying this for a long time. I’m testing other game players for later purchases.

Shoppers are not here only for games. Movies, TV shows, and other cultural contents are also great attractions. For foreigners the Yongsan Electronics Market is about the only place where they can get DVDs of their favorite programs from back home.

My name is Cliff and I just bought season two of my favorite show. I’ve been in Korea for 18 months and coming to this DVD store for about a year now. I like shopping here because they have a large selection of different programs. So far I’ve bought about 50 movies and 5 or 6 TV show DVDs. Most of all they have great service, and nice employees. Their DVDs are high quality. People at Yongsan always try to provide the best service and products. The employees are nice, clean, and helpful. You can stay here all day because there are so many places to eat around here. I really like the Yongsan Electronics Market.

If you are looking for cell phones and other mobile devices, go to buildings 12 and 13 of the Najin Shopping Center and the fourth floor of the Electronics Land. For household appliances, shop at buildings 17 and 19 of the Najin Shopping Center, the first floor of the Terminal Shopping Center, and the first and second floors of the Electronics Land. Buildings 19 and 20 of the Najin Shopping Center are where you can find broadcasting equipment such as microphones, audio systems, and walkie-talkies. No matter how convenient online shopping has become these days, it is always more prudent to buy electronic goods offline where people can actually see and test the products. That’s why the Yongsan Electronics Market is always bustling with shoppers.

- I can’t trust internet shopping. I can see the products myself and compare prices. There is a diversity of products and I can freely choose what I want. You can’t actually see the products on the internet. I bought a camera today and I’m really satisfied.

Experiencing a problem with your purchase? No need to worry. Just visit one of many service centers located throughout the market. All the products purchased at the Yongsan Electronics Market are covered by free one-year service warranty even overseas. Here’s Mr. Kim Jeong-hwan, president of the Yongsan Terminal Shopping Center Merchants’ Association.

Our market has service centers for all product brands. The Yongsan Terminal Shopping Center houses Fujitsu, HP, and Tristar service centers. Samsung and LG Electronics have service centers for IT products and small household appliances in the Electronic Land building.

While the Seonin Plaza and the Najin Shopping Center feel more like traditional markets, Electronic Land looks like a modern department store. Each floor features different types of electronic goods and fourth and fifth floors are entertainment areas with movie theaters, a game zone, and a food court. If you are in the mood for more down-to-earth experience, try out the food alley behind the mall, but if you are looking for convenient and spic-and-span eateries, this is where you want to be. Here’s Mr. Kim Jeong-hwan, president of the Yongsan Terminal Shopping Center Merchants’ Association again.

Each shopping center has rest areas where shoppers can take a break and a variety of restaurants and fast food stores. The older open-air food alley is located behind building 17 and 18 of the Najin Shopping Center, while large food courts can be found in Electronic Land and the Yongsan Terminal Shopping Center. We continuously try to provide customers with various amenities and a pleasant shopping experience.

The Yongsan Electronics Market is truly a premier electronics shopping mall with some 6,000 stores, 20 thousand merchants, and 100 thousand daily customer traffic. This must be what heaven is like for computer geeks and IT maniacs.

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