South Korea's IT exports contracted by 5.2 percent during the first half of the year, mainly due to weak demand from European consumers and falling prices of semiconductors and display devices.
According to a report by the Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday, the country shipped US$73.27 billion worth of IT products between January and June, down from US$77.32 billion a year earlier. Its IT imports also dropped by 6.5 percent to US$35.29 billion during the same timeframe, the country's Ministry of Knowledge Economy revealed.
The drop in global demand, due primarily to the ongoing Euro zone debt problems, contributed to South Korea's IT industry slowdown, it added.
Falling prices of semiconductors and display panels, which are key exports for the country, didn't help matters. Exports of semiconductors shrank 1.6 percent to US$24.38 billion, while display panels shrank 3.9 percent to US$14.89 billion, the Ministry noted.
Local manufacturers shifting their mobile phone production overseas have also affected local exports, with mobile phone exports dropping 34.4 percent year-on-year to US$8.84 billion, it said.
The Ministry did predict that the situation will improve in the latter half of the year, with demand for memory chips and display devices set to rebound. It expects the country's annual IT exports to stay in the same range as last year.
The Yonhap News Agency pointed out that IT exports hit US$156.97 billion in 2011, thanks to strong demand for smartphones and semiconductors.