A local think tank said on May 6 that two thirds of all sales posted by South Korea's top 10 companies came from overseas last year. These firms paid 19 trillion won (US$16.24 billion) in corporate taxes in Korea for their overseas sales.
The combined sales of the country’s 10 largest companies in terms of sales came to 695.60 trillion won (US$594.53 billion) last year, with overseas sales accounting for 65.9 percent, or 458.40 trillion won (US$391.8 billion), according to the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI).
By company, SK Hynix Inc. showed the highest reliance on overseas sales with 97.9 percent, followed by Samsung Electronics Co. at 86.1 percent, Kia Motors Corp. at 66.9 percent, LG Electronics Inc. at 63.5 percent and Hyundai Motor Co. at 62 percent.
KERI added that 64 of the nation’s 100 largest firms in terms of sales saw 55 percent of their sales come from overseas, with the percentage higher among companies with larger sales. Among the 54 companies that can be compared with their performance in 2014, 35 firms, or 65 percent, had a higher percentage of overseas sales. Their average ratio of overseas sales increased by 9.2 percentage points from 41.4 percent to 50.6 percent. By company, the figure for Samsung Electronics dropped by 3.8 percentage points in five years from 89.9 percent in 2014 to 86.1 percent last year. The figures for Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors grew by 6.7 percentage points and 4.5 percentage points, respectively, over the same period.
By industry, electrical and electronic engineering had the highest percentage of overseas sales at 82.6 percent. SK Hynix and LG Display Co. saw their figures exceed 90 percent, while Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co., Samsung SDI Co. and Samsung Electronics saw their figures surpass 80 percent. By region, Asia had the highest percentage at 43.7 percent, followed by the Americas at 31.5 percent and Europe at 18.7 percent.
In addition, KERI said the combined amount of corporate taxes paid by the top 10 companies in terms of sales in South Korea stood at 18.90 trillion won (US$16.15 billion) last year. Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix paid 11.60 trillion won (US$9.91 billion) and 5.60 trillion won (US$4.79 billion) of corporation taxes, respectively.
KERI added that 64 companies which sort sales into domestic and overseas employed 5.6 percent, or 592,000, of workers who were subject to the earned income taxes, with their combined amount of wages taking up 9.3 percent of the total at 49.10 trillion won (US$41.97 billion). Based on the data, the combined earned income taxes paid by these employees were estimated at 4.50 trillion won (US$3.85 billion) as of 2017, accounting for 12.8 percent of the total.