Monday, January 31, 2011

Hardware vs. Software: Korea's Growing Dependence on Manufacturing

The Joongang Daily and other media are reporting today on a new Bank of Korea report that shows Korea's increasing dependence on its manufacturing sector over the past nine years.  (Click on the accompanying graphic to see a full size version)  Last year the manufacturing industry created total value worth $257.4 billion, or 30.6 percent of the country's total.  This represented the first time that the percentage from manufacturing exceeded 30 percent and it was also a significant increase over earlier years.
In terms of the focus of this blog, it is significant that Korea's manufacturing industries are led by electronics.  In other words, these figures reflect a heavy reliance on the manufacture of semiconductors, mobile handsets, flat screen television sets and computer monitors and other electronic components.  This compares with relatively small production of software and content, which comprises by far the bulk of the global ICT industry.  The Bank of Korea also reported that last year's exports tied to the manufacturing sector were 5.6 times greater than exports by the service sector.
According to an official from the Knowledge Economy Ministry, “There is a need to develop high-value service sectors such as medical, information technology, finance and insurance in addition to low-value service sectors such as retail and lodging.”

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