I live in South Korea, and as a rather-enthusiastic learner of English, there is a question that has bothered me for a long time. People here use the word "tier" in different way than other countries. If you say one thing is a "top tier", then it means that one belongs to the best grade, group, rank, etc. However, if you say another thing is a "1 tier", that means exactly the same(I think "1 tier" is also a broken English of "tier 1" since "1 tier" means a single group of rank).
Here is the example which made me ask this question today;
This is a news article that says "Apple has PROMOTED S.Korean market to 1 tier(tier 1) after 12 years of service, and people are looking forward Apple's customer service to get better". According to what I know, if Apple has re-assigned S.Korean market as "1 tier(tier 1)", the article should have said "demoted" instead of "promoted", or if the journalist intended to mean "promotion", she should have said Apple has promoted S.Korean market as "top tier" instead of "1 tier(tier 1)".
I tried searching up google for other uses of TIER and found out that the absolute majority uses higher tier to describe superior thing, but there was only one case which uses this word in opposite way. Here. If I understood it right, since it's about optimizing a kind of computer system, more frequent I/O rate should mean "superior"(or primary) object, but it describes superior thing as tier 1 and inferior as tier 3. What makes me more confused is that the figure included in this document colors "tier 1" as gold, and "tier 3" as bronze.
I messed up my question a lot, so here is the simple one; Do tiers with higher numbers always mean better than those with lower numbers?