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Korea’s ICT industry posts exports of $176.9 billion in 2019 2020-01-30

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on January 20 that Korea’s information and communications technology (ICT) Industry posted exports of USD 176.9 billion in 2019.

Outbound shipments of ICT goods last year decreased 19.7 percent compared to 2018 due to stagnant markets for major items, the slowdown of global economy including China, and the base effect. However, the ICT exports achieved the third highest value in history.

Imports by the ICT sector in 2019 reached $108.4 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $68.5 billion.

By product category, exports of three major items (semiconductors, displays, and mobile phones) all saw declines. Semiconductors dropped 25.7 percent to $95.2 billion from a year earlier due to the base effect, decreasing demand, and lower prices following the increase in supply.

Displays decreased 21.3 percent to $21.8 billion. Exports of liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) contracted due to falling prices caused by fiercer competition, and exports of light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) were stagnant.

Mobile phones fell 17.8 percent to $12.0 billion due to slow global growth for smartphones, increased overseas production, and extended replacement cycle of smartphones. However, the global share of Korean firms expanded.

Computers and peripheral devices posted a double-digit decline of 19.3 percent to $9.1 billion despite increases in computers. This was led by weak sales of solid-state drives (SSDs) and other peripheral devices.

Meanwhile, outbound shipments of secondary batteries inched up 2.7 percent to $7.4 billion. Exports of television and parts soared 85.8 percent to $3.1 billion and those of computers rose 28.9 percent to $2.0 billion.

By region, ICT exports to China, including Hong Kong, fell 27.3 percent to $86.8 billion. Decreases were noticeable in mobile phones (down 28.4 percent to $3.1 billion), displays (down 19.5 percent to $11.4 billion), and semiconductors (down 30.5 percent to $59.6 billion).

ICT shipments to Vietnam edged down 2.6 percent to $27.2 billion. Despite increases in the mobile phones (up 10.0 percent to $2.8 billion), semiconductors (down 1.9 percent to $10.8 billion) and displays (down 12.5 percent to $8.3 billion) decreased.

The value of ICT goods shipped to the U.S. contracted 10.5 percent to $18.4 billion. Exports of mobile phones (down 29.0 percent to $3.6 billion), semiconductors (down 6.7 percent to $6.4 billion), computers and peripheral devices (down 8.2 percent to $2.3 billion) decreased.

For December 2019, the ICT industry recorded $14.4 billion in exports, $9.0 billion in imports, and $5.4 billion in trade surplus.

ICT exports last month saw a year-on-year decrease of 9.5 percent due to falling exports of semiconductors, displays, and mobile phones.

Outbound shipments of semiconductors fell 17.6 percent to $7.4 billion due to falling demand for memory chips and their prices.

Display exports went down 14.4 percent to $1.8 billion. Even though OLED panels remained strong, LCD panels slowed down because of intensifying competition.

Mobile phones also dropped 2.1 percent to $870 million as a result of increased overseas production of Korean companies. While exports of parts improved, those of finished products slowed down.

Computers and peripheral devices jumped 32.8 percent to $1.0 billion. SSDs and other peripheral devices improved greatly.

ICT imports lost 3.1 percent to $9.0 billion. While computers and peripheral devices shipped to Korea rose 0.8 percent to $1.1 billion, semiconductors fell 3.5 percent to $3.9 billion. Imports of mobile phones also went down 14.2 percent to $680 million.

By region, ICT imports from the U.S. increased 0.6 percent to $730 million. Meanwhile, the value of ICT goods shipped from China, Vietnam, and the EU went down 29.2 percent to $3.1 billion, 10.4 percent to $590 million, and 1.6 percent to $590 million, respectively.


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