The Korea National Statistical Office announced on July 25 that South Korean companies with less than 250 employees bore 20.5% of South Korea’s total exports in 2015. It added that the percentage was the lowest among those of 26 OECD member countries, which recorded an average of 31.5%, and the list was topped by Latvia (72.7%), Estonia (68.7%) and Turkey (72.6%).
According to the statistical office, South Korean companies with at least 250 employees accounted for only 2.1% of the total but the ratio of their exports to South Korea’s total exports amounted to 79.5% during the same period, when the OECD average was 56.8%.
In the meantime, it has been found that South Korean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) exporting their products tend to have a higher chance of survival than their peers focusing on the domestic market. According to the statistical office, 72.8% of South Korean SMEs that exported their products in 2010 survived until 2015 whereas the ratio was only 54% when it comes to those doing business only in the domestic market.
Major export destinations for South Korean SMEs changed during the period. Back in 2010, their no. 1 customer was China, which accounted for 24.6% of their exports. Two years ago, it was Southeast Asia (26.7%), which was followed by China (22.6%), the United States (11.3%), and Japan (9.7%).