Last year, Korea’s ICT exports reached the US$190 billion level for the first time and an all-time high by renewing the highest monthly record for the 11th consecutive month.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, ICT exports totaled US$197.6 billion and ICT imports were US$102.1 billion so the ICT sector recorded a surplus of US$95.6 billion last year. Exports grew 21.6 percent year on year, chalking up double-digit growth for the first time in seven years since 2010 (a 27.3-percent jump from a year earlier).
By item, semiconductor exports (US$99.68 billion) climbed 60.2 percent from the previous year. They took the initiative in ICT exports, surpassing US$90 billion for the first time as a single item.
In addition, exports inflated with items with technical advantage such as displays (US$30.29 billion, 7.8 percent) and computers and peripherals (US$9.64 billion, 10.0 percent) taking the lead.
Mobile phone exports, on the other hand, remained at US$19.04 billion, down 28.8 percent from the previous year. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy blamed the drop on the expansion of overseas production aimed at cutting production cost to win a price war in the smartphone world.
By region, exports to China (including Hong Kong) rose 22.2 percent to US$104.3 billion, followed by exports to Vietnam (US$25.78 billion, 60.2 percent) and exports to the United States (US$18.16 billion, 3.7 percent).
The sum of the export and import figures showed that last year, Korea enjoyed a surplus of US$95.56 billion in ICT trade. This figure accounted for most of Korea’s trade surplus (US$95.77 billion).
Market researcher Gartner predicted that the global ICT market would grow4.3 percent this year, 0.3 percent in 2016 and 3.3 percent in 2017.