South Korea's ICT exports clocked a new high of US$83.83 billion in the first half of 2014, fueled by demand for semiconductors and smartphones manufactured in local plants.
ICT exports grew 3.2 percent over the same period last year despite a less-than-stellar outlook for the overall tech industry, according to a report by the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy.
Semiconductor exports climbed 10.6 percent over the previous year to hit US$29.3 billion in the first half of 2014, where chips used in mobile devices including smartphones grew 12.6 percent to US$13.1 billion.
Daily average ICT exports also reached a record-high of US$630 million, said the ministry, adding that imports climbed 7.4 percent to US$42.15 billion. Trade surplus for the sector reached US$41.68 billion, which was more than double the average US$20.28 billion for all other industry segments.
The South Korean ministry is projecting ICT exports to maintain its growth into the second half of 2014, but noted that key challenges remain including the lacklustre growth for the overall industry, the won's increasing value against the dollar, and dipping prices of memory chips.
Research firm Gartner in May revised its 2014 growth outlook for Korea's ICT industry from 3.6 percent to 3.2 percent.