The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on November 15 that exports of information and communication technology goods rose by 20.6 percent to USD 18 billion, the second highest on record, in October from a year ago.
For nine consecutive months between February and October, Korea’s ICT sector posted record-high exports for each respective month. Exports of ICT goods also grew at double-digit rates for 11 straight months.
Imports in the ICT sector advanced 11 percent year-on-year to $9.1 billion, and trade surplus came to $8.9 billion.
Strong ICT exports were driven by the fast growth in outbound shipments of semiconductors.
Semiconductor exports soared 72.4 percent to $9.6 billion on rising demand for servers and mobile devices and higher prices of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips. Monthly exports of semiconductors exceeded $9 billion for two consecutive months.
Outbound shipments of computers and peripheral devices climbed 2.8 percent to $839 million on a 26.7-percent increase in exports of solid-state drives worth $519 million. Display exports inched up 1.7 percent to $2.7 billion on robust overseas sales of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays.
Exports of mobile phones and parts contracted 27.8 percent to $1.9 billion as Korean companies increasingly procure parts from overseas markets where they manufacture handsets. Meanwhile, overseas shipments of finished devices grew for the second straight month thanks to the launch of new flagship smartphones by Korean firms.
By region, exports of ICT goods to Vietnam jumped 58.1 percent to $2.4 billion on sharp increases in shipments of semiconductors and displays. Exports to the Southeast Asian nation exceeded $2 billion for eight straight months.
Shipments to China surged 30.8 percent to an all-time high of $10.2 billion, breaking the record for the third consecutive month. This was led by a 95.2-percent growth in semiconductor exports.
Exports to the U.S. and the European Union (EU) decreased 0.3 percent to $1.7 billion and 7.4 percent to $755 million, respectively.
A breakdown of imports in the ICT sector showed that inbound shipments of semiconductors surged 31.9 percent to $4 billion with those of memory semiconductors more than doubling to $1.3 billion.
Imports of computers and peripheral devices rose by 22.9 percent to $989 million, while display imports grew 8.7 percent to $466 million. Inbound shipments of mobile phones and parts declined 18.7 percent to $1.2 billion.
Imports of ICT goods from Vietnam soared 46.1 percent to $684 million as mobile phones manufactured by Korean firms in the country were shipped in. Inbound shipments from Japan jumped 13.6 percent to $1.1 billion with semiconductors imports leaping nearly 50 percent to around $520 million.
Inbound shipments from the U.S. and China contracted 1.7 percent to $715 million and 8.4 percent to $3.1 billion, respectively.
* Short version