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August ICT exports set record high of $20.2 billion 2018-09-17

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on September 17 that exports of information and communications technology (ICT) products in August hit a record high of USD 20.2 billion.
Exports of ICT goods increased 15.5 percent compared to a year earlier. ICT imports were also up 0.4 percent to $8.7 billion, and the trade surplus in this sector stood at $11.5 billion.

The historically high exports were led by semiconductors and displays. Overseas shipments of semiconductors went up 30.4 percent to a record $11.6 billion, surpassing $10 billion for four consecutive months. This was thanks to the robust sales of memory semiconductors, which jumped 42.5 percent to $8.6 billion.

Displays exports grew 5.8 percent to $3 billion on the back of strong demand for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) amid intensifying competition between liquid-crystal display (LCD) manufacturers. Overseas sales of displays continued their growth for the second consecutive month.

Outbound shipments of computers and peripheral devices also rose 13 percent to $977 million, continuing growth for three straight months. Those of computers jumped 29.1 percent to $117 million. Exports of peripheral devices such as solid-state drives (SSDs), monitors, and printers advanced 11.2 percent to $860 million.

However, mobile phones shipments saw a decrease of 19.7 percent to $1.3 billion. Sales of finished mobile phones dropped 15.4 percent to $520 million due to fiercer competition between high-end models and longer smartphone replacement cycles. Phone parts exports fell 22.3 percent to $800 million because of increased overseas production and local procurement in the export destinations.

By region, ICT exports to China, including Hong Kong, expanded 20 percent year-on-year to a record $10.9 billion. This was attributable to higher sales of semiconductors and computers and peripheral devices, which grew 32.5 percent to $7.8 billion and 30.6 percent to $430 million, respectively.

Those to Vietnam increased 24.3 percent to $2.8 billion, achieving growth for the second consecutive month. Displays exports soared 53.6 percent to $1.2 billion and semiconductors rose 31.8 percent to $960 million.

Korean ICT goods sold to the EU also advanced 19.5 percent to $1 billion, maintaining their 10-month streak of expansion. Shipments of semiconductors and displays went up 42.9 percent to $250 million and 23.9 percent to $140 million, respectively.

Meanwhile, ICT exports to the U.S. saw a decrease of 1.4 percent to $1.7 billion. Despite growth in semiconductors exports (up 34.6 percent to $630 million), overall shipments declined because of mobile phones and computers and peripheral devices whose exports contracted 28.7 percent to $410 million and 26.6 percent to $190 million, respectively.

ICT shipments to Japan also inched down 0.8 percent to $320 million as exports of semiconductors fell 0.6 percent to $100 million and those of mobile phones 31.3 percent to $20 million.

A breakdown of ICT imports revealed that inbound shipments of memory semiconductors increased 14.6 percent to $1.3 billion while those of system semiconductors decreased 6.5 percent to $1.9 billion. Imports of displays also advanced 13.2 percent to $570 million.

Purchases of computers and peripheral devices, on the other hand, dropped 5.1 percent to $966 million. Mobile phones imports also went down 9.8 percent to $714 million.

By country, imports from Vietnam grew 2.7 percent to $673 million. In contrast, inbound shipments from China decreased 8 percent to $3.2 billion. Those from Japan and the U.S. also slipped 5.2 percent to $873 million and 18.1 percent to $632 million, respectively.

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