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Korea’s annual ICT exports surpass $200 billion for first time 2018-12-18

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on December 18 that Korea’s exports of information and communications technology (ICT) goods from January to November this year reached a record USD 204.5 billion, surpassing the $200 billion mark for the first time.
However, the exports of ICT goods in November saw a slight decrease of 1.7 percent, posting the first decline in 25 months. This is primarily due to a slowdown in the expansion of semiconductors and sluggish sales of mobile phones and displays.

Overall, ICT goods in November recorded $18.3 billion in exports, $9.8 billion in imports, and $8.5 billion in trade surplus.

By product category, shipments of semiconductors increased 10.6 percent to $10.8 billion on the back of continuing demand for memory chips, which climbed up 16.9 percent to $8.1 billion, despite falling chip prices. This month’s chip exports marked a 7-month streak of exceeding $10 billion.

Meanwhile, exports of displays and mobile phones decreased 11.3 percent to $2.3 billion and 46.7 percent to $1.0 billion, respectively. More intense competition between major exporters led to this contraction.

By region, ICT exports to China, including Hong Kong, declined 12.2 percent to $9.0 billion mainly due to slowing shipments of semiconductors (down 4.3 percent to $6.6 billion), displays (down 30.3 percent to $980 million), and mobile phones (down 66.4 percent to $270 million).

ICT shipments to Vietnam, the U.S., and the EU, on the other hand, all experienced growth.

Those to Vietnam went up 13.2 percent to $2.7 billion as a result of increased exports of semiconductors (up 31.0 percent to $1 billion) and displays (up 22.9 percent to $1 billion).

The value of ICT goods shipped to the U.S. improved 11.0 percent to $2.0 billion. While the exports of semiconductors more than doubled to $1 billion, those of mobile phones went down 48.5 percent to $340 million. Shipments of computers and peripheral devices also dropped 43.6 percent to $150 million.

ICT exports to the EU rose 13.0 percent to $1 billion largely because of increased shipments of semiconductors (up 22.0 percent to $220 million) and displays (up 5.8 percent to $110 million).

For ICT imports, those of semiconductors expanded 18.4 percent to $4.3 billion. While system chip imports fell 13.4 percent to $1.6 billion, memory chip imports jumped 80.7 percent to $2.1 billion.

Inbound shipments of displays also saw posted a 1.3 percent increase to $470 million mostly because of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel imports that soared 274.0 percent to $90 million.

In contrast, imports of computers and peripheral devices dropped 11.4 percent to $890 million as peripheral devices shipped to Korea went down 24.2 percent to $390 million. Meanwhile, computer imports inched up 1.6 percent to $510 million.

Mobile phones shipped to Korea also decreased 18.1 percent to $1.3 billion. Inbound shipments of finished products and parts declined 9.5 percent to $830 million and 30.5 percent to $440 million, respectively.

By country, ICT imports from China saw a decline of 12.7 percent to $3.7 billion, and those from Japan slowed down 14.9 percent to $880 million. Inbound shipments from Vietnam decreased 8.9 percent to $640 million, and those from the U.S. inched down 2.0 percent to $700 million.

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