IT Exports Surge to Record High

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IT Exports Surge to Record High

 

November 24, 2004


South Korea's exports of information and communication technology products reached a monthly record high of $6.83 billion in October, driven by strong sales of semiconductors and wireless telephony equipment.

The $61.7 billion in information-technology exports through the January-October period exceeds last year's total of $57.5 billion. The previous high for monthly information-technology exports was $6.51 billion set in May.

According to figures released on November 4, information-technology imports were tracked at $3.8 billion last month, up 7.3 percent year-on-year, resulting in a trade surplus of $3.03 billion. Semiconductors accounted for 35.8 percent of October's exports at $2.45 billion, the highest since $2.64 billion in September 2000.

Dynamic random access memory chips, or DRAM, reached $1.18 billion, riding on higher prices. Flash-memory exports were also up 41.3 percent year-on-year at $305 million, due to greater demand for mobile handsets, digital cameras and digital music players among others.

Mobile-phone exports were up 33.4 percent year-on-year to $2.26 billion, accounting for 33.1 percent of the monthly exports. The United States was Korea's largest mobile-phone market, with shipments reaching $710 million. Exports to Europe rose 85.4 percent year-on-year at $610 million, thanks to the more widespread diffusion of third-generation mobile services.

Overseas sales of digital televisions rose 1.6 percent year-on-year to $150 million, while exports of set-top boxes reached 90 million. Personal computer exports amounted to $40 million.

China continued to be Korea's largest market for information-technology exports, with the country's recent interest rate increase expected to have limited effects. October shipments to China reached 1.76 billion, up 15.9 percent year-on-year.

However, South Korea is increasingly becoming a major destination for China's tech goods. Imports from China reached $7.09 billion from January to October, accounting for 20.9 percent of total exports.

South Korea was Japan's preferred destination for its high-tech exports, with $7.79 billion sent here through January-October. Exports to Japan were tracked at $430 million last month, down 13.5 percent year-on-year due to less demand for non=memory chips and liquid-crystal-display monitors.

Semiconductor components accounted for $2.93 billion of last month's $3.8 billion in high-tech imports. Analysts have been warning that the increasing reliance on foreign electronic components will hurt the sector in the future as increasing competition from China, Taiwan and Japan results in oversupply.

 

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