Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Korea the World's Largest Net Exporter of ICT Products

As reported by the Korea Times and other local media, a new OECD "Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard" report shows that, as of 2007, South Korea was the world leader in exports of information and communications technologies. The nation exported a range of ICT products, including computers and cell phones, worth $97.4 billion in 2007, while importing technology goods valued at $54.1 billion. Furthermore, Korea's ICT trade surplus grew at an annual rate of 10 percent from 1996 through 2007. This record owes primarily to success of Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics in their exports of semiconductors, mobile phone handsets, televisions and other LCD products, and home appliances. However, despite the dominance of the two big chaebol groups, an industry expert noted that many of Korea's small and medium size industries also benefited from this export trend as they supplied critical electronic components here in Korea and for export. Think, for example of a 3G mobile handset. One of these today may contain 800 or more components. Until 1993 or later, Japanese firms dominated the market for handset components. However, when Korea chose to adopt the CDMA standard and became the first nation in the world to commercialize it, that picture started to change. It changed even more dramatically in favor of Korean exporters and components manufacturers when some large U.S. telecoms service providers announced they would use the CDMA standard.

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