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S. Korea’s IoT Sales Reach 8.6 Tril. Won in 2018
The World's Fifth Largest Market
S. Korea’s IoT Sales Reach 8.6 Tril. Won in 2018
  • By Kim Eun-jin
  • February 13, 2019, 10:08
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The size of the South Korean Internet of Things (IoT) industry has grown by nearly two times in four years. Based on such growth, the country’s IoT market is expected to become the fifth largest in the world this year after the United States, China, Japan and Germany.

The Ministry of Science and ICT released a report titled “2018 IoT Industry Survey” on Feb.12, which offers an overview of the domestic IoT industry in 2018.

The report said that sales of the domestic IoT industry stood at 8.61 trillion won (US$7.65 billion) last year, up 18.6 percent from 7.26 trillion won (US$6.45 billion won) in 2017. IoT sales in Korea grew 22.6 percent on average each year from 2015 to 2018.

South Korea’s IoT exports have been growing at an annual average rate of 40 percent, though the amount of domestic sales account for 91.6 percent of the total with 7.89 trillion won (US$7 billion).


The size of the global IoT market in 2019 is estimated at US$745 billion (838.50 trillion won), up 15.4 percent from last year, according to a report released by U.S.-based market research firm IDC in January. In particular, South Korea is expected to become the fifth largest market in the world.

By business sector, sales of equipment such as wearable devices and smart terminals, including sensors and modules, remote meter reading, facility monitoring and biometrics recognition systems, took up the largest part with 42.7 percent, or 3.67 trillion won (US$3.26 billion). However, it had the lowest growth on-year in sales with 12.6 percent.

The report shows that the domestic IoT market is moving from the initial equipment-based stage to a stage where platforms and services are gradually expanding. In the IoT service sector, manufacturing accounted for the highest portion with 28.4 percent, or 528.50 billion won (US$469.57 million), thanks to expansion of smart factories.

In addition, the number of workers in the IoT industry has increased by 2026 to 75,077 and the demand for related jobs shows a steady growth as the number of required workers under the current employment programs is 4,600 this year.

Meanwhile, the government report was based on a national statistical survey which has been conducted every year from 2014. The latest survey included 2,204 companies which are engaged in the IoT business in 2018 (2,118 companies in 2017) according to the ninth Korean Standard Statistical Classification and National Establishment Survey. Out of 2,204, 498 firms responded to the survey.

The survey was divided into four areas, including service, platform, network and device, and the service sector had the most number of companies with 1,191, or 54 percent.