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South Korea IT exports continue double-digit growth

Posted: 06 Apr 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Sean Shim? Ministry of Information and Communication? South Korea? import? export?

South Korea's exports of information technology products rose 11 percent in March from the same period last year, marking eight straight months of double-digit growth for the country, the Ministry of Information and Communication said in a report on April 4.

According to the report, overall overseas shipments by the IT sector rose to $9.36 billion from $8.43 billion the previous year. A sharp rise in exports of semiconductors, display panels and digital TV sets led to the strong results. Meanwhile, March imports in the industry also grew 12.5 percent, to $5.19 billion, from previous year with higher demand for semiconductors used in mobile phones and digital home appliances, and in-bound shipments of personal computers.

The March performance brought the country's Q1 IT exports to $26.60 billion, a 13 percent rise over $23.55 billion. Imports, on the other hand, totaled $14.25 billion, up 13.8 percent from $12.53 billion. The ministry also added that the trade surplus in the sector stood at $4.17 billion in March.

By product category, exports of display panels jumped 124.4 percent year-on-year, to $1.38 billion because of brisk sales in China, Japan and the EU countries. Overseas sales of digital TV sets also grew 18.9 percent, to $580 million.

Semiconductor exports climbed 8.6 percent, to $2.85 billion, despite a 10.3 percent drop, to $1.24 billion, in the memories sector. While the mobile phone sector, had a 3.7 percent year-to-year decline of which exports amounted to $2.2 billion.

By destination, exports to China grew 21.2 percent, to $3.29 billion, because of strong demand for semiconductors, cellular phones and display items. Exports to Japan also rose 26.8 percent, to $760 million, but shipments to the United States fell by 12.9 percent, to $1.07 billion, because of fierce competition in the market and a stronger Korean won currency.

In addition, relocation of some major PC plants to China and Southeast Asian countries also limited demand for memory chips in the U.S. market. Lackluster performance in semiconductors and mobile phones led a fall in exports to the EU nations by 4 percent, to $1.55 billion.

The ministry said it expects the country's IT industry to continue gains in the coming months because of gradual growth in the world economy; domestic companies' efforts to diversify overseas markets; and scheduled international sporting events, such as the World Cup soccer finals and the Asian Game. However, the ministry cited the continued appreciation of the Korean currency and oversupplies of semiconductors and display panels as factors that will hurt the country's exports.

- Sean Shim
EE Times




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