South Korea showed top-level global competitiveness in manufacturing and trade, but indexes in labor and the social sectors were at a significantly lower level compared to developed countries.
According to the report “South Korea in the World” unveiled on Oct. 26 by the Institute of International Trade, an affiliate of the Korea International Trade Association, Korea maintains its status as a world leader in the manufacturing industry.
As of last year, South Korea ranked number 1 in cell phone shipments and second in semiconductor and shipbuilding (including the residual quantity of orders). The country ranked fifth globally in the output of automobiles and sixth in crude steel, respectively.
There were 17 South Korean companies on the list of the Global 500 by Fortune, which makes Korea the country with the seventh largest number of companies on the list. In the area of global brand value, Samsung was ranked eighth, which is up by one level from last year, and Hyundai ranked 43rd, which rose by ten steps from last year.
South Korea's economic status can be seen in figures such as the investment amount in research and development ranked sixth globally, eighth in foreign-exchange reserves, first in digital government index, fourth in the number of registered domestic patents, fifth in the number of high-speed Internet users, and third in the number of international conferences held.
Last year, South Korea ranked seventh in the amount of export, ninth in trade volume, and 13th in trade surplus in the world.
On the contrary, South Korea remained low in the indexes of labor and society.
In 2012, the female economic activity rate was 50.2 percent, ranked 25th in the world, and birthrate was 1.23 percent, ranking 168th out of 171 countries.
South Korea ranked 41st in the Quality of Life evaluated by Swiss International Institute for Management Development (IMD), which is down from the last year's rank (34th).