Saturday, October 3, 2015

Korea as an ICT leader: additional evidence

I'm thinking a lot these days about South Korea's current status in the world as a leader in broadband networks and in the ICT sector more generally.  Thus I was pleasantly surprised to read the OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2015, as it provides a great deal of updated and improved empirical data that helps researchers and policymakers to better situation Korea within the global digital network revolution.
The headline and chart that caught my eye had to do with the value added by the ICT sector in South Korea compared with other countries. (click to see a full size version) While the share of ICTs in OECD total value added remained stable at 5.5 percent, in Korea that was a world-leading 10.7 percent, largely because of a strong specialization in computer, electronic and optical products.
There is much much more in the OECD report.  For example, in the twelve-year period between 2001 and 2013 Korea was the only OECD country to increase its share of the world market for ICT goods.  In 2013 it was the fourth largest exporter of ICT goods in the world, following China, the United States and Singapore.  However, the report also documents how Korea ranked 25th in the world as an exporter of ICT services.   To place this in context, one has to consider that, according to most industry estimates, approximately three quarters of the global ICT sector market consists of software and services, while hardware makes up less than one quarter.

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