Six industries account for 82% of Korean exports

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Six industries account for 82% of Korean exports


July 22, 2005


Six major manufacturing industries have expanded their dominance in exports over the past decade and accounted for about 82 percent of South Korea's total manufactured exports in 2004.

In 1995, the figure was 68 percent. The six industries are electronics, automobiles, shipbuilding, petrochemicals, steel and industrial machinery. They produced 52.8 percent of the country's total manufactured goods last year, up from 45.8 percent in 1995, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said July 15.

The central bank said that exports of the six industries expanded by an annual average of 10.4 percent from 1995 through 2004, higher than the 8.2 average growth rate of all the Korea's manufacturing sector.

Producers of electronics, including cellular phones and liquid crystal displays, and shipbuilders have strengthened their global competitiveness by investing in research and development-related activities over the years, it said.

But the automobile, petrochemical and steel sectors still heavily rely on the price-competitiveness of their products to expand sales overseas.

Electronics companies increased their share of the nation's total manufacturing exports to 40.8 percent in 2004, up from 37 percent in 1995, while automakers accounted for 13.7 percent of Korea's total exports, up from 8 percent.

Shipbuilders and machinery producers accounted for 6.5 percent and 8.2 percent last year, respectively.

"Some electronics sectors, such as cellular phones, and the shipbuilding industry have been able to ship more products overseas thanks to state-of-the-art tech,' a BOK official said. "But automobile manufacturers and other manufacturing industries have largely concentrated on cutting production costs to secure price-competitiveness to increase overseas shipments.'

Meanwhile, the combined trade surplus by the six industries topped 94 billion in 2004, more than a five-fold increase from 17.9 billion recorded in 1995.

Their combined global market share also jumped to 4.1 percent, up from 3.4 percent a decade ago, but still lower than those of Japan and China at 10.3 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively, according to the central bank.

Domestic shipbuilders captured a 21 percent global market share last year, followed by the petrochemical industry with 5.8 percent.

In the electronics sector, local makers of wireless telecommunication devices met 12 percent of the global demand and produced 5.8 percent of semiconductors sold in the world.

The six industries' Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA) index, which indicates industry competitiveness, came to 1.51 in 2003, up from 1.3 in 1995.

 

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