The iPod has proven so popular in Korea that Korean consumer electronics companies have resorted to taking out newspaper adverts to appeal to Koreans to buy South Korean-made products.
Regincom's advert appeared on March 1 – Independence Movement Day – stating: "Does shouting 'mansei' buck-naked make Korea independent? US firms are sweeping up most of the world's HDD-type MP3 player market… As a sovereign MP3 state, we could not simply sit back and watch."
Digital Chosunilbo reports that the advert, which includes an image of the Korean flag, continues: "After spending countless nights in the research room, we’ve finally produced a precious son for the world market... There will be many difficulties, but we are not afraid. We are the descendents of martyrs who braved bullets and swords to bring about independence to the cry of 'mansei.'"The word Mansai is variously interpreted as "freedom", and as "May Korea live ten thousand years". It is associated with Korean independence.
A Reigncom official told Digital Chosunilbo: "Apple has stepped up an offensive to kill local MP3 manufacturers. So we placed the advertisement to coincide with March 1 Independence Movement Day."
Reigncom, parent company of portable music player maker iRiver, is currently the world’s number one in MP3 players with flash memory sticks – a position Apple is hoping to take over with the iPod shuffle. The company recently announced a HDD player that is a competitor to the iPod mini – the iRiver H10 is able to hold 1,200 songs.