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Korea: a billion-dollar market - Connect with Fleck - Statistical Data Included
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN KOREA? WE RECENTLY held our 2002 Fleck Research Korean workshop in Seoul, South Korea, and found out a lot from more than 100 Korean companies and others. This turnout was remarkable, as it represents more than 60 percent of the connector, cable assembly and backplane companies doing business in Korea. In addition to Fleck Research data, presentations were made by Molex Korea, LG Cable Co. and KET, the leading automotive supplier in Korea. At midyear 2002, the Korean electronics industry is in the midst of a makeover. For decades, Samsung, LG and other conglomerates, known as chaebols, had difficulty establishing themselves as competitors against Sony, Nokia, Motorola, Siemens, Intel, Dell, Compaq, IBM and others. Then came the financial crisis in 1997 and 1998.
However, as of 2002 Samsung has positioned itself as the world's largest producer of memory chips and flat panel monitors, the No. 2 maker of DVD players and the No. 3 maker of cell phones. Samsung also has positioned itself as a high-end maker of DVD, MP3 and digital television sets. LG has become the largest producer of CD-ROM drives. In summary, these Korean electronic giants have increased their global mind share.
This has had a positive impact on the connector industry in Korea. The Korean market size for connectors, cable assemblies and backplanes in 2001 was 1.4 trillion won, down 2.5 percent compared to 2000. Converting to the U.S. dollar, the Korean market was $1.1 billion, a decline of 14.5 percent. The won strengthened against the dollar in 2001 to 1,288 won to the dollar, compared to 1,129 won to the dollar in 2000, a negative swing of 14 percent in currency conversion.
Printed circuit connectors are the largest product sector in Korea, representing $238 million (307 billion won). Major product designs include cardedge in pin-pitches of 2.54mm to 5.08mm, accounting for $21 million (27 billion won). Post/box on 2.54mm pitch accounted for $38 million (49 billion won), while DIN represented $19 million (25 billion won).
I/O connectors accounted for $78 million (101 billion won). Major product lines included D-sub at $13 million (17 billion won), SCSI at $7 million (9 billion won) and RJ-45, accounting for $12 million (16 billion won).
Automotive connectors in Korea recorded $117 million (151 billion won). Major designs include blade connectors, both sealed and unsealed, at $19 million (24 billion won); pin and socket connectors, both sealed and unsealed, at $50 million (64 billion won); and air bags/squib connectors at $24 million (31 billion won).
Other Korean product sectors were circular at $45 million (58 billion won), RF coax at $55 million (71 billion won) and IC sockets at $35 million (45 billion won), among others.
Total connector shipments in Korea in 2001 were $670 million (864 billion won). Cable assemblies added another $493 million (636 billion won). The top 10 Korean leaders in 2001 were Tyco, KET, Molex, Hirose, Wooyoung, Yeon-Ho, KMW, Shinsung, Korea Electro Devices and SeAh Communications.
In visiting Korea on some 15 to 20 occasions in the last five years and meeting with 161 Korean companies, the impressions are that product lines are keyed to those in the United States. Of course, aiding this is the fact that Molex, Tyco, Amphenol, Delphi, ITT Cannon and 3M, among other American companies, have presence in Korea. These six American companies account for 26 percent of the total shipments in Korea.
Japanese companies also exhibit a presence in Korea and account for 10 percent of Korean shipments.