Sunday, January 2, 2011

Korea's Export and ICT-Led Economy

It is January 2, but this is my first blog post of 2011.  As an industry colleague noted in a recent e-mail message to me, the world is changing fast, and IT is at the center of things.
The news about South Korea's all-time record trade surplus during 2010 is a significant piece of information about its ICT sector.  As reported by international media including Singapore's Straits Times, the nation logged a $41.7 billion trade surplus in 2010.  This raised Korea's global export ranking to seventh.
The ICT sector was at the center of this development.  The Ministry of Knowledge Economy noted that the record figures indicate the country had solid performances in many sectors including semi-conductors, automobiles, mobile communications and general machinery equipment, despite the appreciation of the Korean currency as well as the tension on the peninsula.  In addition to semiconductors and mobile communications, the display and television industries did their share to contribute to Korea's trade surplus.
There are many interesting aspects, including risks, to Korea's export-led economic growth, and this is a general topic that this blog will continue to follow in 2011.   However, at this point in time, South Korea is surfing a wave of change in the semiconductor, mobile and display industries worldwide.  The Japan Times carried an interesting article yesterday entitled "Digital age leaves myopic Japan facing manufacturing crisis."   The article noted that, in the past, Japan was able to gain market share because its products had a technological edge and their companies drew strength from vertical integration and testing in Japan's domestic market.  However, from the 1990s, the core technologies for many electronics products, including computers, TVs and DVD players went digital and with modular components.
In this new digital, modular age, Korean companies, led by Samsung and LG, but also including many SMEs and parts manufacturers, seem to be off to a very good start.

No comments:

Post a Comment