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Korea’s ICT exports record 3.8% growth in 2020 2021-01-18

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on January 18 that Korea’s information and communications technology (ICT) Industry posted exports of USD 183.6 billion in 2020.


Outbound shipments of ICT goods last year went up 3.8 percent compared to 2019 despite COVID-19 impacts. The ICT exports achieved the third highest value in history.


Imports by the ICT sector in 2020 totaled $112.6 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $71.0 billion.


By product category, exports of semiconductors and computers and peripheral devices saw growth, while those of displays and mobile phones experienced declines.


Chip exports moved up 5.4 percent to $100.3 billion from a year earlier. Stronger demand for chips due to the expansion of the “untact” economy and the commercialization of 5G operations led to the growth. Semiconductor exports recorded the second highest value in history. Both system semiconductors and memory semiconductors experienced increases, with system chips achieving the record high value of yearly exports.


Computers and peripheral devices also posted a 53.1 percent growth to $13.9 billion. This is the highest value in history thanks to the surge in solid-state drives (SSDs), which soared 101.5 percent to $10.1 billion.


Meanwhile, exports of displays dipped 5.1 percent to $20.7 billion. Shipments of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) recorded the highest value in history, surpassing the $10.0 billion mark for the third consecutive year.


Those of mobile phones fell 6.0 percent to $11.3 billion.


By region, ICT exports to the United States (U.S.) expanded 20.4 percent to $22.1 billion on the back of semiconductors (up 25.8 percent to $8.1 billion) and computers and peripherals (up 95.9 percent to $4.5 billion).


Those to China, including Hong Kong, inched up 0.1 percent to $86.9 billion. Increases were seen in semiconductors (up 1.7 percent to $60.7 billion) and mobile phones (up 7.3 percent to $3.3 billion).


Korean ICT goods shipped to Vietnam rose 9.6 percent to $29.8 billion. This is the highest export value to Vietnam in history thanks to displays (up 21.7 percent to $10.1 billion), mobile phones (up 16.1 percent to $3.2 billion), and semiconductors (up 7.0 percent to $11.5 billion).


Those to the European Union (EU) went up 4.8 percent to $11.3 billion due to semiconductors (up 4.5 percent to $2.3 billion) and mobile phones (up 57.0 percent to $1.1 billion).


However, the value of ICT goods shipped to Japan fell 5.1 percent to $3.9 billion. Decreases were noticeable in displays (down 47.4 percent to $130 million) and semiconductors (down 16.9 percent to $1.1 billion).


For December 2020, the ICT industry recorded $18.0 billion in exports, $10.7 billion in imports, and $7.3 billion in trade surplus.


ICT exports last month jumped 24.9 percent due to improvements in all four major product categories.


Outbound shipments of semiconductors advanced 29.6 percent to $9.6 billion, and those of displays gained 31.3 percent to $2.4 billion.


Mobile phones jumped 48.3 percent to $1.3 billion, and computers and peripheral devices rose 13.5 percent to $1.2 billion.


By region, ICT exports to China (up 18.7 percent to $8.5 billion), Vietnam (up 53.8 percent to $3.1 billion), the U.S. (up 32.5 percent to $2.2 billion), and the EU (up 7.6 percent to $995 million) experienced increases. Meanwhile, those to Japan (down 2.8 percent to $344 million) contracted.


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