South Korea’s information technology (IT) exports have continuously decreased over the last five years when semiconductors are excluded.
The amount of IT exports, except for semiconductors, peaked in 2013 and then fell for five years in a row, according to the data on IT industry exports between 1996 and 2018 compiled by the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI).
South Korea’s IT industry exports had grown 7.9 percent a year on average from US$41.2 billion 1996 to US$220.40 billion in 2018.
Excluding semiconductors, however, the amount of IT exports totaled US$92.20 billion in 2018, falling to the level before 2010. The figure has been on the decrease after it peaked at US$115.50 billion (131.27 trillion won) in 2013.
There are only five items, excluding semiconductors, among the 20 IT products which have shown growth in exports until recently. They include printed circuit boards (PCBs) and measurement instruments. The five items, however, accounted for a mere 8.2 percent of the total IT exports last year.
In addition, exports of flat panel displays, one of the major IT export items, also fell significantly. They recorded US$39.30 billion (44.66 trillion won) in 2013, taking up 7 percent of the total exports, but the figure fell to US$27.80 billion (31.59 trillion won) last year. Cellular phone exports have halved over the last three years and amounted to US$14.60 billion (16.59 trillion won) last year.